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Marrow of Methodism: 

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Knirn fraction. 


THE value of Wesley's sermons, as sources of personal 
" instruction in righteousness," and especially to any 
one who has anything to do with religious teaching, or 
'" the cure of souls." whether as " separated unto the Gospel 
of God," as a Local-preacher or as a Class-leader, it is 
scarcely possible to over-estimate. Yet they are so simple, 
so severely chaste in language, so unornamented and " plain 
in neatness," that it is to be feared they are much more 
praised than read. We know no work so useful in clearing 
the doubts of believers, and explaining to them their own 
state. And what security have we that the Methodist pulpit 
and the Methodist Class-room will retain their power and 
fulfil their Providential mission unless the characterisiic 
principles of Wesley's teaching be embodied in that of the 
Preachers and Leaders? Moreover, we cannot fully feel 
Charles Wesley's hymns if unfamiliar with John Wesley's 
sermons. It has occurred to us that perhaps the best way 
of bringing out the instructiveness of these remarkable 
discourses, would be to show how they supply answers to 
questions which must be incessantly putting themselves to 
thoughtful Christians, especially those who have to guide 
others. We therefore! choose twelve sermons as samples 
of Wesley's teaching. We have appended a few questions, 
simply for the sake of directing attention to the principal 
points. It will be especially seen with what wonderful 
clearness and precision the true Doctrines of Grace are pre- 
sented in Wesley's standard sermons. 

The Editor. 




Salvation by Faith . 1 

Ephesians ii. 8. — By grace are ye saved through faith. 

The Righteousness of Faith 13 

Romans x. 5 — 8. — lUoxes describeth the righteousness which 
is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall 
live by them : Sfc. 

The Way to the Kingdom 27 

Mark i. 15. — The kingdom of God is at hand : repent ye, 
and believe the Gospel. 

The Fiest Fruits of the Spieit 39 

Romans viii. 1. — There is therefore now no condemnation to 
them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the 
flesh, but after the Spirit. 

The Spieit of Bondage and Adoption 53 

Romans viii. 15. — Ye hare not received the spirit of bondage 
again unto fear ; but ye have received the Spirit of 
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 

The Witness of the Spieit. — i. 70 

Romans viii. 16. — Tlie Spirit itself beareth witness with our 
spirit, that we arc the children of God. 

The Witness of the Spieit. — n. 84 

Romans viii. 16. — The Spirit itself beareth witness with our 
spirit, we are the children of God. 

Ox Sin in Believers 90 

2 Corin hians v. 17. — If any man be in Clirist, he is a new 

The Repentance of Believees 114 

Mark i. 15. — Ilcpcnt ye, and believe the Gospel. 

Sermon on the Mount. — n. . 131 

Matthew v. 5 — 7. — Blessed are the meek : <S'c. 

The Obiginal, Natuee, Peoperty, And Use of the Law 150 
Romans vii. 12. — Wherefore the law is holy, and the com- 
mandment holy, and just, and good. 

Satan's Devices 1<>7 

2 Corinthians ii. 11. — We are not ignorant of his devices. 




ST. mart's, oxford, before the university, 
OS juxe 18, 1738. 

"By grace are ye saved through faith." — Eph. ii. 8. 

ALL the blessings which God hath bestowed upon man are 
of His mere grace, bounty, or favour; His free, unde- 
served favour ; favour altogether undeserved ; man having 
no claim to the least of His mercies. It was free grace that 
''formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into 
him a living soul," and stamped on that soul the image of 
God, and " put all things under his feet." The same free 
grace continues to us, at tin's day, life, and breath, and all 
things. For there is nothing we are, or have, or do, which 
can deserve the least thing at God's hand. " All our works, 
thou, God, hast wrought in us." These, therefore, are so 
many more instances of free mercy: and whatever right- 
eousness may be found in man, this is also the gift of God. 

2. Wherewithal then shall a sinful man atone for any the 
least of his sins ? With his own works ? No. Were they 
ever so many or holy, they are not his own, but God's. But 
indeed they are all unholy and sinful themselves, so that 
every one of them needs a fresh atonement. Only corrupt 
fruit grows on a corrupt tree. And his heart is altogether 
coiTupt and abominable ; being " come short of the glory of 



God," the glorious righteousness at first impressed on his 
soul, after the image of his great Creator. Therefore, 
having nothing, neither righteousness nor works, to plead, 
his mouth is utterly stopped before God. 

3. If then sinful men find favour with. God, it is " grace 
upon grace ! " If God vouchsafe still to pour fresh blessings 
upon us, yea, the greatest of all blessings, salvation ; what 
can we say to these things, but, " Thanks be unto God for His 
^unspeakable gift ! " And thus it is. Herein " God com- 
mendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet 
sinners, Christ died " to save us. " By grace " then " are 
ye saved through faith." Grace is the source, faith the con- 
dition, of salvation. 

Now, that we fall not short of the grace of God, it con- 
cerns us carefully to inquire, 

I. What faith it is through which we are saved. 
II. What is the salvation which is through faith. 


I. What faith it is through which we are saved. 

1. And, first, it is not barely the faith of a Heathen. 
Now, God requireth of a Heathen to believe, " that God is ; 

that He is a resvarder of them that diligently seek Him; " 
and that He is to be sought by glorifying Him as God, by 
giving Him thanks for all things, and by a careful practice of 
moral virtue, of justice, mercy, and truth, toward their fel- 
low-creatures. A Greek or Roman, therefore, yea, a Scythian 
or Indian, was without excuse if he did not believe thus 
-much : the being and attributes of God, a future state of 
reward and punishment, and the obligatory nature of moral 
virtue. For this is barely the faith of a Heathen. 

2. Nor, secondly, is it the faith of a devil, though this goes 
much farther than that of a Heathen. For the devil believes 
not only that there is a wise and powerful God, gracious to 
reward, and just to punish ; but also, that Jesus is the Son of 
God, the Christ, the Saviour of the world. So we find him 
declaring, in express terms, " I know Thee who Thou art ; the 


Holy One of God." (Luke iv 34.) JSTor can we doubt but 
that unhappy spirit believes all those words which came out 
of the mouth of the Holy One ; yea, and whatsoever else 
was written by those holy men of old, of two of whom he 
was compelled to give that glorious testimony, " These men 
are the servants of the most high God, who show unto you 
the way of salvation." Thus much, then, the great enemy of 
God and man believes, and trembles in believing, — that God 
was made manifest in the flesh; that He will "tread all enemies 
under His feet ; " and that " all Scripture was given by in- 
spiration of God." Thus far goeth the faith of a devil. 

3. Thirdly. The faith through which we are saved, in 
that sense of the word which will hereafter be explained, is 
not barely that which the Apostles themselves had while 
Christ was yet upon earth ; though they so believed on Him as 
to "leave all and follow Him; " although they had then power 
to work miracles, to " heal all manner of sickness, and all 
manner of disease ; " yea, they had then " power and 
authority over all devils ; " and, which is beyond all this, 
were sent by their Master to " preach the kingdom of God." 

4. What faith is it then through which we are saved ? 
It may be answered, first, in general, it is a faith in Christ : 
Christ, and God through Christ, are the proper objects of it. 
Herein, therefore, it is sufficiently, absolutely distinguished 
from the faith either of ancient or modern Heathens. And 
from the faith of a devil it is fully distinguished by this, it is 
not barely a speculative, rational thing, a cold, lifeless assent, 
a train of ideas in the head ; but also a disposition of the 
heart. For thus saith the Scripture, " With the heart man 
believeth unto righteousness ; " and, " If thou shalt confess 
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart 
that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." 

5. And herein does it differ from that faith which the 
Apostles themselves had while our Lord was on earth, that it 
acknowledges the necessity and merit of His death, and the 
power of His resurrection. It acknowledges His death as the 
only sufficient means of redeeming man from death eternal, 
and His resurrection as the restoi-ation of us all to life and 

B 2 


immortality ; inasmuch as He " was delivered for our sins, 
and rose again for our justification." Christian faith is then, 
not only an assent to the whole Gospel of Christ, but also a 
full reliance on the blood of Christ ; a trust in the merits of 
His life, death, and resurrection ; a recumbency upon Him 
as our atonement and our life, as given for us, and living in us ; 
and, in consequence hereof, a closing with Him, and cleaving 
to Him, as our " wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and 
redemption," or, in one word, our salvation. 

II. "What salvation it is, which is through this faith, is 
the second thing to be considered. 

i. And, first, whatsoever else it imply, it is a present 
salvation. It is something attainable, yea, actually attained, 
on earth, by those who are partakers of this faith. For thus 
saith the Apostle to the believers at Ephesus, and in them to 
the believers of all ages, not, Ye shall be, (though that also 
is true,) but, " Ye are saved through faith." 

2. Ye are saved (to comprise all in one word) from sin. 
This is the salvation which is through faith. This is that 
great salvation foretold by the angel, before God brought His 
First-begotten into the world : " Thou shalt call His name 
Jesus ; for He shall save His people from their sins." And 
neither here, nor in other parts of holy writ, is there any 
limitation or restriction. All His people, or, as it is else- 
where expressed, " all that believe in Him," He will save from 
all their sins ; from original and actual, past and present sin, 
" of the flesh and of the spirit." Through faith that is in 
Him, they are saved both from the guilt and from the power 
of it. 

3. First, from the guilt of all past sin : for, whereas all 
the world is guilty before God, insomuch that should He 
" be extreme to mark what is done amiss, there is none 
that could abide it ; " and whereas, "by the law is" only 
"the knowledge of sin," but no deliverance from it, so that 
" by " fulfilling " the deeds of the law, no flesh can be justi- 
fied in His sight ; " now, " the righteousness of God, which 
is by faith of Jesus Christ, is manifested unto all that believe." 


Now, " they are justified freely by His grace, through the re- 
demption that is in Jesus Christ." '" Him God hath set forth 
to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His 
righteousness for (or by) the remission of the sins that are 
past." Now hath Christ taken away " the curse of the law, 
being made a curse for ns." He hath " blotted out the hand- 
writing that was against us, taking it out of the way, nailing 
it to His cross." " There is therefore no condemnation now 
to them which " believe " in Christ Jesus." 

4. And being saved from guilt, they are saved from fear. 
Not indeed from a filial fear of offending; but from all servile 
fear ; from that fear which hath torment ; from fear of punish- 
ment ; from fear of the wrath of God, whom they now no 
longer regard as a severe master, but as an indulgent Father. 
" They have not received again the spirit of bondage, but the 
Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father : the 
Spirit itself also bearing witness with their spirits, that they 
are the children of God." They are also saved from the 
fear, though not from the possibility, of falling away from 
the grace of God, and coming short of the great and precious 
promises. Thus have they " peace with God through our 
Lord Jesus Christ. They rejoice in hope of the glory of 
God. And the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts, 
through the Holy Ghost, which is given unto them." And 
hereby they are persuaded, (though perhaps not at all times, 
nor with the same fulness of persuasion,) that " neither death, 
nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, 
nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate 
them from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our 

5. Again: through this faith they are saved from the 
power of sin, as well as from the guilt of it. So the Apostle 
declares, "Ye know that He was manifested to take away 
our sins ; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him 
sinneth not." (1 John iii. J3, etc.) Again : "Little children, 
let no man deceive you. He that committeth sin is of the 
devil. Whosoever believeth is born of God. And whosoever 
is born of God doth not commit sin ; for His seed remaineth 


in him : an*d lie cannot sin, because lie is bom of God. 
Once more: "We know that whosoever is born of God 
sinneth not ; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, 
and that wicked one toucheth him not." (1 John v. 18.) 

6. He that is, by faith, born of God sinneth not, (1.) By 
any habitual sin ; for all habitual sin is sin reigning : but 
sin cannot reign in any that believeth. Nor, (2.) By any 
wilful sin ; for his will, while he abideth in the faith, is 
utterly set against all sin, and abhorreth it as deadly poison. 
ISTor, (3.) By any sinful desire ; for he continually desireth 
the holy and perfect will of God ; and any tendency to an 
unholy desire, he by the grace of God, stifleth in the birth. 
Nor, (4.) Doth he sin by infirmities, whether in act, word, 
or thought ; for his infirmities have no concurrence of his 
will ; and without this they are not properly sins. Thus, 
" he that is born of God doth not commit sin : " and though 
he cannot say, he hath not sinned, yet now " he sinneth 

7. This then is the salvation which is through faith, even 
in the present world : a salvation from sin, and the conse- 
quences of sin, both often expressed in the word justification ; 
which, taken in the largest sense, implies a deliverance from 
guilt and punishment, by the atonement of Christ actually 
applied to the soul of the sinner now believing on Him, and 
a deliverance from the power of sin, through Christ formed 
in his heart. So that he who is thus justified, or saved by 
faith, is indeed born again. He is born again of the Spirit 
unto a new life, which " is hid with Christ in God." And 
as a new-bom babe he gladly receives the aSoXov " sincere 
milk of the word, and grows thereby;" going on in the 
might of the Lord his God, from faith to faith, from grace 
to grace, until at length, he come unto " a perfect man unto 
the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." 

III. The first usual objection to this is, 

1. That to preach salvation, or justification, by faith onlv 
is to preach against holiness and good works. To which a 
ghort answer might be given ; " It would be so, if we spake 


as some do, of a faith which was separate from these ; but 
we speak of a faith which is not so, but productive of all 
good works, and all holiness." 

2. But it may be of use to consider it more at large ; 
especially since it is no new objection, but as old as St. Paul's 
time : for even then it was asked, " Do we not make void the 
law through faith ? " We answer, first, all who preach not 
faith do manifestly make void the law ; either directly and 
grossly, by limitations and comments that eat out all the 
spirit of the text ; or, indirectly, by not pointing out the 
only means whereby it is possible to perform it. Whereas, 
secondly, "we establish the law," both by showing its full 
extent and spiritual meaning ; and by calling all to that 
living way, whereby " the righteousness of the law may be 
fulfilled in them." These, while they trust in the blood of 
Christ alone, use all the ordinances which He hath appointed, 
do all the " good works which He had before prepared that 
they should walk therein," and enjoy and manifest all holy 
and heavenly tempers, even the same mind that was in 
Christ Jesus. 

3. But does not preaching this faith lead men into pride ? 
We answer, Accidentally it may : therefore ought every 
believer to be earnestly cautioned, in the words of the great 
Apostle, " Because of unbelief," the first branches " were 
broken off ; and thou standest by faith. Be not high- 
minded, but fear. If God spared not the natural branches, 
take heed lest He spare not thee. Behold therefore the 
goodness and severity of God ! On them which fell, severity ; 
but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness; 
otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." And while he continues 
therein, he will remember those words of St. Paul, foresee- 
ing and answering this very objection, (Rom. iii. 27,) "Where 
is boasting then'r 1 It is excluded. By what law? of works ? 
Nay : but by the law of faith." If a man were justified by 
his works, he would have whereof to glory. But there is no 
glorying for him " that worketh not, but believeth on Him 
that justifieth the ungodly." (Rom. iv. 5.) To the same 
effect are the words both preceding and following the text 


(Eph. ii. 4, Ac. :) " God, who is rich in mercy, even when 
we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, 
(by grace ye are saved,) that He might show the exceeding 
riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through 
Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith ; 
and that not of yourselves." Of yourselves cometh neither 
your faith nor your salvation : "it is the gift of God ; " the 
free, undeserved gift ; the faith through which ye are saved, 
as well as the salvation which He of His own good pleasure, 
His mere favour, annexes thereto. That ye believe, is one 
instance of His grace ; that believing ye are saved, another. 
" Not of works, lest any man should boast." For all our 
works, all our righteousness, which were before our believing, 
merited nothing of God but condemnation ; so far were they 
from deserving faith, which therefore, whenever given, is 
not of works. Neither is salvation of the works we do 
when we believe ; for it is then God that worketh in us : 
and, therefore, that He giveth us a reward for what He 
Himself worketh, only commendeth the riches of His mercy, 
but leaveth us nothing whereof to glory 

4. However, may not the speaking thus of the mercy of 
God, as saving or justifying freely by faith only, encourage 
men in sin ? Indeed, it may and will : many will V: continue 
in sin that grace may abound ; " but their blood is upon their 
own head. The goodness of God ought to lead them to. re- 
pentance; and so it will those who are sincere of heart. 
When they know there is yet forgiveness with Him, they 
will cry aloud that He would blot out their sins also, through 
faith which is in Jesus. And if they earnestly cry, and 
faint not; if they seek Him in all the means He hath 
appointed; if they refuse to be comforted till He come; 
" He will come, and will not tarry." And He can do much 
work in a short time. Many are the examples, in the Acts 
of the Apostles, of God's working this faith in men's hearts 
even like lightning falling from heaven. So in the same 
hour that Paul and Silas began to preach, the jailer repented 
believed, and was baptized ; as were three thousand, by St. 
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, who all repented and believed 


at his first preaching. And, blessed be God, there are now 
many living proofs that He is still "mighty to save." 

j. Yet to the same truth, placed in another view, a quite 
contrary objection is made : "If a man cannot be saved by 
all that he can do, this will drive men to despair." True, to 
despair of being saved by their own works, their own merits, 
or righteousness. And so it ought ; for none can trust in 
the merits of Christ, till he has utterly renounced his own. 
He that " goeth about to establish his own righteousness " 
cannot receive the righteousness of God. The righteousness 
which is of faith cannot be given him while he trusteth in 
that which is of the law. 

6. But this, it is said, is an uncomfortable doctrine. The 
devil spoke like himself, that is, without either truth or 
shame, when he dared to suggest to men that it is such. It 
is the only comfortable one, it is " very full of comfort," to 
all self -destroyed, self -condemned sinners. That " whosoever 
believeth on Him shall not be ashamed : that the same Lord 
over all is rich unto all that call upon Him : " here is comfort, 
high as heaven, stronger than death ! What ! Mercy for all V 
For Zaccheus, a public robber ? For Mary Magdalene, a 
common harlot ? Methinks I hear one say, " Then I, even I, 
may hope for mercy ! " And so thou mayest, thou afflicted 
one, whom none hath comforted ! God will not cast out thy 
prayer. Nay, perhaps He may say the next hour, " Be of 
good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee ; " so forgiven, that 
they shall reign over thee no more ; yea, and that " the Holy 
Spirit shall bear witness with thy spirit that thou art a 
child of God." glad tidings ! tidings of great joy, which 
are sent unto all people ! " Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters : come ye, and buy, without money and 
without price." Whatsoever your sins be, " though red like 
crimson," though more than the hairs of your head, "return 
ye unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon you ; and to 
our God, for He will abundantly pardon." 

7. When no more objections occur, then we are simply 
told, that salvation by faith only ought not to be preached as 
the first doctrine, or, at least, not to be preached to all. But 


what saith the Holy Ghost ? " Other foundation can no man 
lay than that which is laid, even Jesns Christ." So then, 
that " whosoever believeth on Him shall he saved," is, and 
must be, the foundation of all our preaching ; that is, must be 
preached first. " Well, but not to 'all:" To whom then are we 
not to preach it ? Whom shall we except ? The poor ? Nay ; 
they have a peculiar right to have the Gospel preached unto 
them. The unlearned ? No. God hath revealed these things 
unto imlearned and ignorant men from the beginning. The 
young ? By no means. " Suffer these," in anywise, to come 
unto Christ, " and forbid them not." The sinners ? Least of 
all. " He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repent- 
ance." Why then, if any, we are to except the rich, the 
learned, the reputable, the moral men. And, it is true, they 
too often except themselves from hearing; yet we must speak 
the words of our Lord. For thus the tenor of our commission 
runs, " Go and preach the Gospel to every creature." If any 
man wrest it, or any part of it, to his destruction, he must 
bear his own burden. But still, " as the Lord liveth, whatso- 
ever the' Lord saith unto us, that we will speak." 

8. At this time, more especially, will we speak, that " by 
grace are ye saved through faith : " because, never was the 
maintaining this doctrine more seasonable than it is at this 
day. Nothing but this can effectually prevent the increase 
of the Romish delusion among us. It is endless to attack, 
one by one, all the errors of that Church. But salvation by 
faith strikes at the root, and all fall at once where this is 
established. It was this doctrine, which our Church justly 
calls the strong rock and foundation of the Christian religion 
that first drove Popery out of these kingdoms ; and it is this 
alone can keep it out. Nothing but this can give a check to 
that immorality which hath " overspread the land as a flood." 
Can you empty the great deep, drop by drop ? Then you may 
reform us by dissuasives from particular vices. But let the 
" righteousness which is of God by faith " be brought in and 
so shall its proud waves be stayed. Nothing but this can stop 
the mouths of those who " glory in their shame, and openly 
deny the Lord that bought them." They can talk as sublimely 


of the law, as lie that hath it written by God in his heart. To 
hear them speak on this head might incline one to think they 
were not far from the kingdom of God : but take them out of 
the law into the Gospel ; begin with the righteousness of faith; 
with Christ, " the end of the law to everyone that believeth ; " 
and those who but now appeared almost, if not altogether, 
Christians, stand confessed the sons of perdition ; as far from 
life and salvation (God be merciful unto them !) as the depth 
of hell from the height of heaven. 

9. For this reason the adversary so rages whenever " salva- 
tion by faith " is declared to the world : for this reason did he 
stir up earth and hell, to destroy those who first preached it. 
And for the same reason, knowing that faith alone could over- 
turn the foundations of his kingdom, did he call forth all his 
forces, and employ all his arts of lies and calumny, to affright 
Martin Luther from reviving it. Nor can we wonder thereat ; 
for, as that man of God observes, " How would it enrage a 
proud strong man armed, to be stopped and set at nought by 
a little child coming against him with a reed in his hand ! " 
especially, when he knew that little child would surely over- 
throw him, and tread him under foot. Even so, Lord Jesus ! 
Thus hath Thy strength been ever "made perfect in weakness !" 
Go forth then, thou little child that belie vest in Him, and His 
" right hand shall teach thee terrible things ! " Though thou 
be as helpless and weak as an infant of days, the strong man 
shall not be able to stand before thee. Thou shalt prevail over 
him, and subdue him, and overthrow him, and trample him 
under thy feet. Thou shalt march on, under the great Captain 
of thy salvation, " conquering and to conquer," until all thine 
enemies are destroyed, and "death is swallowed up in victory." 

Now, thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ ; to whom, with the Father 
and the Holy Ghost, be blessing, and glory, and wisdom, 
and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, for 
ever and ever. Amen. 

From what besides the faith of a Heathen and the faith of devils does 
Wesley make saving faith to differ 1 


It " is not barely that which the Apostles themselves had while Christ 
was yet upon earth." 

In what respects does it differ from that of the Apostles during the life- 
time of Christ on earth 1 

It is " a recumbency upon Him as our atonement and our life, as 
given/or us, and living in us," etc. — Sec. I. 5. 

Is this an instructive and important distinction 1 
Highly so. 

What does Wesley describe saving faith to be 1 

" A closing with Him and cleaving to Him," etc. — Sec. I. 5. 

Is saving faith, then, an act only, or also a habit ? 
It is first the one, and then the other. — Ibid. 

. How does Wesley prove salvation to be present and perfect ? 
See Sec. II. 1, 2. 

What is his experimental exposition of the perseverance of the saints ? 
" They are saved from the fear, though not from the possibility of 
falling," etc. 

What is the special historical interest of this sermon 1 
See Title. 


" Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the 

man which doeth those things shall live by them. 
" But the righteousness which is of faith speaheth on this wise, 

Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven ? (that 

is, to bring Christ down from above:) 
" Or, Who shall descend into the deep ? (that is, to bring up Christ 

again from the dead.) 
" But what saith it ? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, 

and in thy heart : that is, the word of faith, which we 

preach." — Romans x. 5 — 8. 

THE Apostle does not here oppose the covenant given by 
Moses, to the covenant given by Christ. If we ever 
imagined this, it was for want of observing, that the latter 
as well as the former part of these words were spoken by 
Moses himself to the people of Israel, and that concerning 
the covenant which then was. (Deut. xxx. 11,12,14.) But 
it is the covenant of grace, which God, through Christ, hath 
established with men in all ages, (as well before and under 
the Jewish dispensation, as since God was manifest in 
the flesh,) which St. Paul here opposes to the covenant of 
works, made with Adam while in paradise, but commonly 
supposed to be the only covenant which God had made with 
man, particularly by those Jews of whom the Apostle writes. 
2. Of these it was that he so affectionately speaks in 
the beginning of this chapter : " My heart's desire and 
prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved. For 
I bear them record, that they have a zeal for God, but 
not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of 
God's righteousness," (of the justification that flows from 
His mere grace and mercy, freely forgiving our sins through 


the Son of His love, through the redemption which is 
in Jesus,) " and seeking to establish their own righteous- 
ness," (their own holiness, antecedent to faith in " Him 
that justifieth the ungodly," as the ground of their pardon 
and acceptance,) " have not submitted themselves unto the 
righteousness of God," and consequently, seek death in the 
error of their life. 

3. They were ignorant that " Christ is the end of the law 
for righteousness to every one that believeth ; " — that, by the 
oblation of Himself once offered, He had put an end to the 
first law or covenant, (which, indeed, was not given by God 
to Moses, but to Adam in his state of innocence,) the strict 
tenor whereof, without any abatement, was, " Do this, and 
live ; " and, at the same time, purchased for us that better 
covenant, " Believe, and live ; " believe, and thou shalt be 
saved ; now saved, both from the guilt and power of sin, and, 
of consequence, from the wages of it. 

4. And how many are equally ignorant now, even among 
those who are called by the name of Christ ! How many 
who have now " a zeal for God," yet have it not " according 
to knowledge;" but are still seeking " to establish their own 
righteousness," as the ground of their pardon and acceptance ; 
and therefore vehemently refuse to " submit themselves unto 
the righteousness of God ! " Surely my heart's desire, and 
prayer to God for you, brethren, is, that ye may be saved; 
And, in order to remove this grand stumbling- block out of your 
way, I will endeavour to show, first, what the righteousness 
is which is of the law ; and what " the righteousness which 
is of faith ; " secondly, the folly of trusting in the righteous- 
ness of the law, and the wisdom of submitting to that which 
is of faith. 

I. 1. And, first, " the righteousness which is of the law 
saith, The man which doeth these things shall live bv them "1 
Constantly and perfectly observe all these things to do them 
and then thou shalt live for ever. This law, or covenant' 
(usually called the covenant of works,) given by God to man 
in paradise, required an obedience perfect in all its T>art«i 


entire and wanting nothing, as the condition of his eternal 
continuance in the holiness and happiness wherein he was 

2. It required that man should fulfil all righteousness, in- 
ward and outward, negative and positive : that he should not 
only abstain from every idle word, and avoid every evil work, 
but should keep every affection, every desire, every thought, 
in obedience to the will of God : that he should continue 
holy as He which had created him was holy, both in heart, 
and in all manner of conversation : that he should be pure in 
heart, even as God is pure ; perfect as his Father in heaven 
was perfect : that he should love the Lord his God with all 
his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his 
strength ; that he should love every soul which God had 
made, even as God had loved him : that by this universal 
benevolence, he should dwell in God, (who is love,) and God 
in him: that he should serve the Lord his God with all his 
strength, and in all things singly aim at His glory. 

3. These were the things which the righteousness of the 
law required, that he who did them might live thereby. But 
it farther required, that this entire obedience to God, this 
inward and outward holiness, this conformity both of heart 
and life to His will, should be perfect in degree. No abate- 
ment, no allowance could possibly be made, for falling short 
in any degree, as to any jot or tittle, either of the outward or 
the inward law. If every commandment relating to outward 
things was obeyed, yet that was not sufficient, unless every 
one was obeyed with all the strength, in the highest mea- 
sure, and most perfect manner. Nor did it answer the 
demand of this covenant, to love God with every power and 
faculty, unless He were loved with the full capacity of each, 
with the whole possibility of the soul. 

4. One thing more was indispensably required by the 
righteousness of the law, namely, that this universal obed- 
ience, this perfect holiness both of heart and life, should bo 
perfectly uninterrupted also, should continue without any 
intermission, from the moment wherein God created man, 
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, until the 


days of his trial should be ended, and he should be confirmed 
in life everlasting. 

5. The righteousness, then, which is of the law, speaketh 
on this wise : " Thou, O man of God, stand fast in love, in 
the image of God wherein thou art made. If thou wilt 
remain in life, keep the commandments, which are nowwritten 
in thy heart. Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. 
Love, as thyself, every soul that He hath made. Desire no- 
thing but God. Aim at God in every thought, in every word 
and work. Swerve not in one motion of body or soul, from 
Him, thy mark, and the prize of thy high calling ; and let 
all that is in thee praise His holy name, every power and 
faculty of thy soul, in every kind, in every degree, and at 
every moment of thine existence. ' This do, and thou shalt 
live : ' thy light shall shine, thy love shall flam e, more and 
more, till thou art received up into the house of God in the 
heavens, to reign with Him for ever and ever." 

6. " But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on 
this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into 
heaven ? that is, to bring down Christ from above ; " (as 
though it were some impossible task which God required 
thee previously to perform, in order to thine acceptance ;) 
" or, Who shall descend into the deep ? that is, to bring up 
Christ from the dead ; " (as though that were still remaining 
to be done, for the sake of which thou wert to be accepted ;) 
" but what saith it ? The word," according to the tenor of 
which thou mayest now be accepted as an heir of life eternal, 
"is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart : that is, 
the word of faith, which we preach," — the new covenant 
which God hath now established with sinful man through 
Christ Jesus. 

7. By "the righteousness which is of faith" is meant, 
that condition of justification (and, in consequence, of present 
and final salvation, if we endure therein unto the end) which 
was given by God to fallen man, through the merits and 
mediation of His only-begotten Son. This was in part 
revealed to Adam, soon after his fall ; being contained in 
the original promise, made to him, and his seed, concerning 


the Seed of the woman, who should " bruise the serpent's 
head." (Gen. iii. 15.) It was a little more clearly revealed 
to Abraham, by the Angel of God from heaven, saying, 
"By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, that in thy Seed 
shall all the nations of the world be blessed." (Gen. xxii, 
16, 18.) It was yet more fully made known to Moses, to 
David, and to the Prophets that followed; and, through them, 
to many of the people of God in their respective generations. 
But still the bulk even of these were ignorant of it ; and 
very few understood it clearly. Still " life and immortality " 
were not so "brought to light " to the Jews of old, as they 
are now unto us " by the Gospel." 

8. Now this covenant saith not to sinful man, " Perform 
unsmiling obedience, and live." If this were the term, he 
would have no more benefit by all which Christ hath done 
and suffered for him, than if he was required, in order to life, 
to " ascend into heaven, and bring down Christ from above ; " 
or to " descend into the deep," into the invisible world, and 
"bring up Christ from the dead." It doth not require any 
impossibility to be done : (although, to mere man, what it 
requires would be impossible ; but not to man assisted by the 
Spirit of God :) this were only to mock human weakness. 
Indeed, strictly speaking, the covenant of grace doth not 
require us to do anything at all, as absolutely and indispen- 
sably necessary in order to our justification ; but only to 
believe in Him who, for the sake of His Son, and the propitia- 
tion which He hath made, " justifieth the ungodly thatworketh 
not," and imputes His faith to him for righteousness. Even 
so Abraham " believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him 
for righteousness." (Gen. xv. 6.) " And he received the sign 
of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith, — that he 
might be the father of all them that believe, — that righteous- 
ness might be imputed unto them also." (Rom. iv. 11.) 
"Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it," i.e., 
faith, " was imputed to him ; but for us also, to whom it shall 
be imputed," to whom faith shall be imputed for righteousness, 
Bhall stand in the stead of perfect obedience, in order to our 
acceptance with God, " if we believe on Him who raised up 


Jesus our L©rd from the dead ; who was delivered " to death 
" for our offences, and was raised again for our justification : " 
(Rom. iv. 23 — 25 :) for the assurance of the remission of our 
sins, and of a second life to come, to them that believe. 

9. What saith then the covenant of forgiveness, of un- 
merited love, of pardoning mercy ? " Believe in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved." In the day thou belie vest, 
thou shalt surely live. Thou shalt be restored to the favoui 
of God ; and in His pleasure is life. Thou shalt be saved 
from the curse, and from the wrath, of God. Thou shalt he 
quickened from the death of sin into the life of righteousness. 
And if thou endure to the end, believing in Jesus, thou shalt 
never taste the second death ; but, having suffered with thy 
Lord, shalt also live and reign with Him for ever and ever. 

10. Now " this word is nigh thee." This condition of life 
is plain, easy, always at hand. " It is in thy mouth, and in 
thy heart," through the operation of the Spirit of God. The 
moment " thou believest in thine heart " in Him whom God 
" hath raised from the dead," and " confessest with thy mouth 
the Lord Jesus," as thy Lord and thy God, " thou shalt be 
saved" from condemnation, from the guilt and punishment of 
thy former sins, and shalt have power to serve God in true 
holiness all the remaining days of thy life. 

11. What is the difference then between the "righteous- 
ness which is of the law," and the " righteousness which is of 
faith ? " between the first covenant, or the covenant of works, 
and the second, the covenant of grace ? The essential, un- 
changeable difference is this : the one supposes him to whom 
it is given, to be already holy and happy, created in the image 
and enjoying the favour of God; and prescribes the condition 
whereon he may continue therein, in love and joy, life and 
immortality : the other supposes him to whom it is 'given, to 
be now unholy and unhappy, fallen short of the glorious 
image of God, having the wrath of God abiding on him, and 
hastening, through sin, whereby his soul is dead, to bodily 
death, and death everlasting ; and to man in this state it pre- 
scribes the condition whereon he may regain the pearl he has 
lost, may recover the favour and image of God, may retrieve 


the life of God in his soul, and be restored to the knowledge 
and the love of God, which is the beginning of life eternal. 

12. Again: the covenant of works, in order to man's con- 
tinuance in the favour of God, in His knowledge and love, in 
holiness and happiness, required of perfect man aperfect and 
uninterrupted obedience to every point of the law of God. 
Whereas, the covenant of grace, in order to man's recovery of 
the favour and the life of God, requires only faith; living faith 
in Him who, through God, justifies bim that obeyed not. 

13. Yet, again: the covenant of works required of Adam, 
and all his children, to pay the price themselves, in considera- 
tion of which they were to receive all the future blessings of 
God. But in the covenant of grace, seeing we have nothing 
to pay, God " frankly forgives us all : " provided only, that we 
believe in Him who hath paid the price for us ; who hath 
given Himself a " propitiation for our sins, for the sins of 
the whole world." 

14. Thus the first covenant required what is now afar off 
from all the children of men ; namely, unsinning obedience, 
which is far from those who are " conceived and born in sin." 
Whereas, the second requires what is nigh at hand ; as though 
it should say, " Thou art sin ! God is love ! Thou by sin art 
fallen short of the glory of God ; yet there is mercy with 
Him. Bring then all thy sins to the pardoning God, and they 
shall vanish away as a cloud. If thou wert not ungodly, there 
would be no room for Him to justify thee as ungodly. But 
now draw near, in full assurance of faith. He speaketh, and 
it is done. Fear not, only believe ; for even the just God 
justifieth all that believe in Jesus." 

II. 1. These things considered, it would be easy to show 
as I proposed to do in the second place, the folly of trusting 
in the " righteousness which is of the law," and the wisdom of 
submitting to the " righteousness which is of faith." 

The folly of those who still trust in the " righteousness 
which is of the law," the terms of which are, " Do this, and 
live," may abundantly appear from hence : they set out 
wrong ; their very first step is a fundamental mistake : for, 

C 2 


before they*can ever think of claiming any blessing on the 
terms of this covenant, they must suppose themselves to be 
in his state with whom this covenant was made. But how 
vain a supposition is this ; since it was made with Adam in a 
state of innocence ! How weak, therefore, must that whole 
building be, which stands on such a foundation ! And how 
foolish are they who thus build on the sand ; who seem never 
to have considered, that the covenant of works was not given 
to man when he was " dead in trespasses and sin," but when 
he was alive to God, when he knew no sin, but was holy as 
God is holy ; who forget, that it was never designed for the 
recovery of the favour and life of God once lost, but only for 
the continuance and increase thereof, till it should be complete 
in life everlasting. 

a. Neither do they consider, who are thus seeking to 
establish their " own righteousness, which is of the law," 
what manner of obedience or righteousness that is which 
the law indispensably requires . It must be perfect and entire 
in every point, or it answers not the demand of the law. But 
which of you is able to perform such obedience ? or, conse- 
quently, to live thereby ? "Who among you fulfils every jot 
and tittle even of the outward commandments of God ? doing 
nothing, great or small, which God forbids ? leaving nothing 
undone which He enjoins ? speaking no idle word ? havdng 
your conversation always " meet to minister grace to the 
hearers ? " and " whether you eat or drink, or whatever you 
do, doing all to the glory of God ? " And how much less are 
you able to fulfil all the inward commandments of God ; those 
which require, that every temper and motion of your soul 
should be holiness unto the Lord ! Are you able to " love 
God with all your heart ? " to love all mankind as your own 
soul ? to " pray without ceasing ? in every thing to give 
thanks ? " to have God always before you ? and to keep every 
affection, desire, and thought, in obedience to His law ? 

3. You.should farther consider, that the righteousness of 
the law requires, not only the obeying every command of 
God, negative and positive, internal and external, but likewi 
m the perfect degree* In every instance whatever the vo' 


of the law is, " Thou shalt serve the Lord thy God with all 
thy strength." It allows no abatement of any kind : it 
excuses no defect : it condemns every coming short of the full 
measure of obedience, and immediately pronounces a curse on 
the offender : it regards only the invariable rules of justice, 
and saith, " I know not to show mercy." 

4. Who then can appear before such a Judge, who is 
" extreme to mark what is done amiss ? " How weak are 
they who desire to be tried at the bar where " no flesh living 
can be justified ! " — none of the offspring of Adam. For, 
suppose we did now keep every commandment with all our 
strength; yet one single breach, which ever was, utterly 
destroys our whole claim to life. If we have ever offended 
in any one point, this righteousness is at an end. For the 
law condemns all who do not perform uninterrupted as well 
as perfect obedience. So that, according to the sentence of 
this, for him who hath once sinned, in any degree, " there 
remaineth only a fearful looking for of fiery indignation, 
which shall devour the adversaries " of God. 

5. Is it not then the very foolishness of folly, for fallen 
man to seek life by this righteousness ? for man, who was 
" shapen in wickedness, and in sin did his mother conceive 
him ? " man, who is, by nature, all " earthly, sensual, devil- 
ish;" altogether "corrupt and abominable;" in whom, till 
ho find grace, " dwelleth no good thing ; " nay, who cannot 
of himself think one good thought ; who is indeed all sin, a 
mere lump of ungodliness, and who commits sin in every 
breath he draws ; whose actual transgressions, in word and 
deed, are more in number than the hairs of his head ? "What 
stupidity, what senselessness, must it be for such an unclean, 
guilty, helpless worm as this, to dream of seeking acceptance 
by his own righteousness, of living by " the righteousness 
which is of the law ! " 

6. Now, whatsoever considerations prove the folly of 
trusting in the " righteousness which of the law," prove 
equally the wisdom of submitting to the " righteousness 
which is of God by faith." This were easy to be shown with 
regard to each of the preceding considerations. But, to 


wave this, the wisdom of the first step hereto, the disclaiming 
oar own righteousness, plainly appears from, hence, that iti 
acting according to truth, to the real nature of things. For 
what is it more, than to acknowledge with our heart as wel 
as lips, the true state wherein we are ? to acknowledge, tha 
we bring with us into the world a corrupt, sinful nature 
more corrupt, indeed, than we can easily conceive, or fini 
words to express ? that hereby we are prone to all that i 
evil, and averse from all that is good : that we are full o 
pride, self-will, unruly passions, foolish desires, vile and in 
ordinate affections ; lovers of the world, lovers of pleasur 
more than lovers of God ? that our lives have been no bette 
than our hearts, but many ways ungodly and unholy ; insc 
much that our actual sins, both in word and deed, have bee: 
as the stars of heaven for multitude ; that, on all thes 
accounts, we are displeasing to Him who is of purer eye 
than to behold iniquity, and deserve nothing from Him bu 
indignation and wrath and death, the due wages of sin 
that we cannot, by any of our righteousness, (for indeed n 
have none at all,) nor by any of our works, (for they are a 
the tree upon which they grow,) appease the wrath of Goc 
or avert the punishment we have justly deserved ; yea, tha 
if left to ourselves, we shall only wax worse and worse, sin 
deeper and deeper into sin, offend God more and more, bot 
with our evil works, and with the evil tempers of our earns 
mind, till we fill up the measure of our iniquities, and brin 
upon ourselves swift destruction ? And is not this the vei 
state wherein by nature we are ? To acknowledge thi 
then, both with our heart and lips, that is, to disclaim ox 
own righteousness, " the righteousness which is of the law, 
is to act according to the real nature of things and coi 
sequently, is an instance of true wisdom. 

7. The wisdom of submitting to " the righteousness 1 
faith " appears farther, from this consideration that it 
the righteousness of God : I mean here, it is that' method < 
reconciliation with God which hath been chosen and estal 
lished by God Himself, not only as He is the God 
wisdom, but as He is the sovereign Lord of heaven and eart 


and of eVery creature which He hath made. Now, as it is 
not meet for man to say unto God, " What doest Thou ? " — 
as none, who is not utterly void of understanding, will con- 
tend with One that is mightier than he, with Him whose 
kingdom ruleth over all : so it is true wisdom, it is a mark 
of sound understanding, to acquiesce in whatever He hath 
chosen ; to say in this, as in all things, "It is the Lord : let 
Him do what seemeth Him good." 

8. It may be farther considered, that it was of mere 
grace, of free love, of undeserved mercy, that God hath 
vouchsafed to sinful man any way of reconciliation with 
Himself ; that we were not cut away from His hand, and 
utterly blotted out of His remembrance. Therefore, what- 
ever method He is pleased to appoint, of His tender mercy, 
of His unmerited goodness, whereby His enemies, who have 
so deeply revolted from Him, so long and obstinately rebelled 
against Him, may still find favour in His sight, it is doubt- 
less our wisdom to accept it with all thankfulness. 

9. To mention but one consideration more. It is wisdom 
to aim at the best end by the best means. Now the best end 
which any creature can pursue is, happiness in God. And 
the best end a fallen creature can pursue is, the recovery of 
the favour and image of God. But the best, indeed the only 
means under heaven given to a man, whereby he may regain 
the favour of God, which is better than life itself, or the 
image of God, which is the true life of the soul, is the sub- 
mitting to the "righteousness which is of faith," the believ- 
ing in the only -begotten Son of God. 

III. 1. Whosoever therefore thou art, who desirest to be 
forgiven and reconciled to the favour of God, do not say in 
thy heart, " I must first do this ; I must first conquer every 
sin ; break off every evil word and work, and do all good to 
all men ; or, I must first go to church, receive the Lord's 
supper, hear more sermons, and say more prayers." Alas, 
my brother ! thou art clean gone out of the way. Thou art 
still "ignorant of the righteousness of God," and art " seek- 
ing to establish thy own righteousness," as the ground of thy 


reconciliation. Knowest thou not, that thou canst do nothing 
but sin, till thou art reconciled to God ? Wherefore, then, 
dost thou say, " I must do this and this first, and then I shall 
believe ? " Nay, but first believe ! Believe in the -Lord Jesus 
Christ, the propitiation for thy sins. Let this good founda- 
tion first be laid, and then thou shalt do all things well. 

2. Neither say in thy heart, " I cannot be accepted yet, 
because I am not good enough." "Who is good enough, who ever 
was, to merit acceptance at God's hands ? Was ever any 
child of Adam good enough for this ? or will any till the con- 
summation of all things ? And, as for thee, thou art not 
good at all : there dwelleth in thee no good thing. And 
thou never wilt be, till thou believe in Jesus. Rather thou 
wilt find thyself worse and worse. But is there any need of 
being worse, in order to be accepted? Art thou not bad 
enough already ? Indeed thou art ; and that God knoweth. 
And thou thyself canst not deny it. Then delay not. All 
things are now ready. " Arise, and wash away thy sins." 
The fountain is open. Now is the time to wash thee white 
in the blood of the Lamb. Now He shall " purge " thee as 
"with hyssop," and thou shalt "be clean:" He shall "wash" 
thee, and thou shalt " be whiter than snow." 

3. Do not say, "But I am not contrite enough: I am not 
sensible enough of my sins." I know it. I would to God thou 
wert more sensible of them, more contrite a thousand- fold than 
thou art. But do not stay for this. It may be, God will 
make thee so, not before thou believest, but by believing. It 
may be, thou wilt not weep much, till thou lovest much 
because thou hast had much forgiven. In the mean time 
look unto Jesus. Behold, how He loveth thee ! What could 
He have done more for thee which He hath not done ? 

" Lamb of G-od, was ever pain, 
Was ever love like Thine ? " 

Look steadily upon Him, till He looks on thee, and breaks 
thy hard heart. Then shall thy "head" be " waters " and 
thy " eyes fountains of tears." 

4. Nor yet do thou say, " I must do something more before 


I come to Christ." I grant, supposing thy Lord should delay 
His coming, it were meet and right to wait for His appear- 
ing, in doing, so far as thou hast power, whatsoever He hath 
commanded thee. But there is no necessity for making such 
a supposition. How knowest thou that He will delay ? 
Perhaps . He will appear, as the dayspring from on high, 
before the morning light. O do not set Him a time ! 
Expect Him every hour. Now He is nigh ! even at the 
door ! 

5. And to what end wouldest thou wait for more sincerity 
before thy sins are blotted out ? To make thee more worthy 
of the grace of God ? Alas, thou art still " establishing thy 
own righteousness." He will have mercy, not because thou 
art worthy of it, but because His compassions fail not ; not 
because thou art righteous, but because Jesus Christ hath 
atoned for thy sins. 

Again : if there be anything good in sincerity, why dost 
thou expect it before thou hast faith ? — seeing faith itself is 
the only root of whatever is really good and holy. 

Above all, how long wilt thou forget, that whatsoever thou 
doest, or whatsoever thou hast, before thy sins are forgiven 
thee, it avails nothing with God toward the procuring of thy 
forgiveness ! yea, and that it must all be cast behind thy back, 
trampled under foot, made no account of, or thou wilt never 
find favour in God's sight ; because, until then, thou canst not 
ask it as a mere sinner, guilty, lost, undone, having nothing to 
plead, nothing to offer to God, but only the merits ^of His 
well-beloved Son, "who loved thee, and gave Himself for thee!" 

6. To conclude. Whosoever thou art, man, who hast 
the sentence of death in thyself, who feelest thyself a con- 
demned sinner, and hast the wrath of God abiding on thee : 
unto thee saith the Lord, not, "Do this,"— perfectly obey all 
My commands, — "and live;" but, "Believe in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved." " The word of faith is nigh 
unto thee : " now, at this instant, in the present moment, and 
in thy present state, sinner as thou art, just as thou art, be- 
lieve the Gospel ; and "I will be merciful unto thy unright- 
eousness, and thy iniquities will I remember no more." 


How does Wesley show that under the Mosaic dispensation there was a 
large element of grace ? 
See Sec. I. 1. 

How does he explain the words : " Who shall ascend," etc., and " Who 
shall descend," etc. ? 
See Sec. I. 6. 

How does he demonstrate the folly of trusting in the righteousness of 
the law ? 
See Sec. II. 1,2,3,4,5. 

How does he prove the wisdom of submitting to the righteousness of 

See Sec. II. 6, 7. 

What is the proper answer to the penitent's objection, " I am not con- 
trite enough." 
See Sec. III. 3. 

What is the answer to " I fear I am not quite sincere " ? 
See Sec. III. 5. 

What advice should be given to a penitent in the event of the delay of a 
sense of pardon 1 
See Sec. III. 4. 

Which of our hymns forms a striking and animated comment on this 
text and application of this discourse I 
Hymn 192. 


" The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the 
Gospel." Mark i. 15. 

THESE words naturally lead us to consider, first, 'the 
nature of true religion, here termed by our Lord, " the 
kingdom of God," which, saith He, "is at hand;" and, 
secondly, the way thereto, which He points out in those 
words, "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." 

1. i. We are, first, to consider the nature of true religion, 
here termed by our Lord, " the kingdom of God." The same 
expression the great Apostle uses in his Epistle to the 
Romans, where he likewise explains his Lord's words, saying, 
" The kingdom of God is not meat and drink ; but righteous- 
ness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Rom. xiv. 17.) 

2. " The kingdom of God," or true religion, " is not meat 
and drink." It is well known, that not only the unconverted 
Jews, but great numbers of those who had received the faith 
of Christ, were, notwithstanding, "zealous of the law," (Acts 
xxi. 20,) even the ceremonial law of Moses. Whatsoever, 
therefore, they found written therein, either concerning meat 
and drink offerings, or the distinction between clean and 
unclean meats, they not only observed themselves, but vehe- 
mently pressed the same, even on those "among the Gentiles" 
(or Heathens) " who were turned to God ; " yea, to such a 
degree, that some of them taught, wheresoever they came 
among them, " Except ye be circumcised, and keep the law," 
(the whole ritual law,) " ye cannot be saved." (Acts xv. 
1, 24.) 

3. In opposition to these, the Apostle declares, both here 
and in many other places, that true religion does not consist 


in meat and drink, or in any ritual observances ; nor, indeed, 
in any outward thing whatever ; in anything exterior to the 
heart ; the whole substance thereof lying in " righteousness, 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 

4. Not in any outward thing ; such as forms or ceremonies, 
even of the most excellent kind. Supposing these to be evei 
so decent and significant, ever so expressive of inward things : 
supposing them ever so helpful, not only to the vulgar, whose 
thought reaches little farther than their sight ; but even tc 
men of understanding, men of stronger capacities, as doubt- 
less they may sometimes be ; yea, supposing them, as in the 
case of the Jews, to be appointed by God Himself ; yet ever 
during the period of time wherein that appointment remains 
in force, true religion does not principally consist therein; nay, 
strictly speaking, not at all. How much more must this hold 
concerning such rites and forms as are only of human ap- 
pointment ! The religion of Christ rises infinitely higher, and 
lies immensely deeper, than all these. These are good in 
their place ; just so far as they are in fact subservient to true 
religion. And it were superstition to object against them, 
while they are applied only as occasional helps to human 
weakness. But let no man carry them farther. Let no man 
dream that they have any intrinsic worth ; or that religion 
cannot subsist without them. This were to make them an 
abomination to the Lord. 

5. The nature of religion is so far from consisting in these. 
in forms of worship, or rites and ceremonies, that it does not 
properly eonsist in any outward actions, of what kind soever. 
It is true, a man cannot have any religion who is guilty oi 
vicious, immoral actions ; or who does to others what he 
would not they should do unto him, if he were in the same 
circumstances. And it is also true, that he can have no real 
religion who " knows to do good, and doeth it not." Yet mav 
a man both abstain from outward evil, and do good and still 
have no religion. Yea, two persons may do the same outward 
work ; suppose feeding the hungry, or clothing the naked • 
and, in the mean time, one of these may be truly religious' 
and the other have no religion at all : for the one may act 


from the love of God, and the other from the love of praise. 
So manifest it is, that although true religion naturally leads 
to every good word and work, yet the real nature thereof 
lies deeper still, even in " the hidden man of the heart." 

6. I say of the heart. For neither does religion consist in 
orthodoxy, or right opinions ; which, although they are not 
properly outward things, are not in the heart, but the under- 
standing. A man may be orthodox in every point ; he may 
not only espouse right opinions, but zealously defend them 
against all opposers ; he may think justly concerning the 
incarnation of our Lord, concerning the ever-blessed Trinity, 
and every other doctrine contained in the oracles of God ; he 
may assent to all the three Creeds, — that called the Apostles', 
the Nicene, and the Athanasian ; and yet it is possible he may 
have no religion at all, no more than a Jew, Turk, or Pagan. 
He may be almost as orthodox — as the devil, (though indeed 
not altogether ; for every man errs in something ; whereas 
we cannot well conceive him to hold any erroneous opinion,) 
and may, all the while, be as great a stranger as he to the 
religion of the heart. 

7. This alone is religion, truly so called : this alone is in 
the sight of God of great price. The Apostle sums it all up 
in three particulars, " righteousness, and peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost." And, first, righteousness. We cannot be at 
a loss concerning this, if we remember the words of our Lord, 
describing the two grand branches thereof, on which " hang 
all the Law and the Prophets : " " Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and 
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength : this is the first 
and great commandment ; " (Mark xii. 30 ;) the first and 
great branch of Christian righteousness. Thou shalt delight 
thyself in the Lord thy God ; thou shalt seek and find all 
happiness in Him. He shall be " thy shield, and thy exceed- 
ing great reward," in time and in eternity. All thy bones 
shall say, " Whom have I in heaven but Thee ? And there is 
none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." Thou shalt hear 
tod fulfil His word, who saith, " My son, give Me thy heart." 
And, having given Him thy heart, thy inmost soul, to reign 


there without a rival, thou may est well cry out, in the fulness 
of thy heart, " I will love Thee, Lord, my strength. The 
Lord is my strong rock, and my defence ; my Saviour, my 
God, and my might, in whom I will trust ; my buckler," the 
horn also of my salvation, and my refuge." 

8. And the second commandment is like unto this ; the 
second great branch of Christian righteousness is closely and 
inseparably connected therewith ; even, " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself." Thou shalt love, — Thou shalt embrace 
with the most tender good- will, the most earnest and cordial 
affection, the most inflamed desires of preventing or removing 
all evil, and of procuring for him every possible good. Thy 
neighbour, — that is, not only thy friend, thy kinsman, or thy 
acquaintance ; not only the virtuous, the friendly, him that 
loves thee, that prevents or returns thy kindness ; but every 
child of man, every human creature, every soul which God 
hath made ; not excepting him whom thou never hast seenin 
the flesh, whom thou knowest not, either by face or name ; 
not excepting him whom thou knowest to be evil and un- 
thankful, him that still despitef ully uses and persecutes thee : 
him thou shalt love as thyself ; with the same invariable 
thirst after his happiness in every kind ; the same unwearied 
care to screen him from whatever might grieve or hurt either- 
his soul or body. 

9. Now is not this love " the fulfilling of the law ? " the 
sum of all Christian righteousness ? — of all inward righteous- 
ness ; for it necessarily implies " bowels of mercies, humble- 
ness of mind," (seeing " love is not puffed up,") " gentleness,; 
meekness, longsuffering : " (for love " is not provoked ; " but 
" believeth, hopeth, endureth all things : ") and of all outward 
righteousness ; for " love worketh no evil to his neighbour," 
either by word or deed. It cannot willingly hurt or grieve 
any one. And it is zealous of good works. Every lover of 
mankind, as he hath opportunity, "doeth good unto all men " 
being (without partiality, and without hypocrisy) " full of 
mercy and good fruits." 

10. But true religion, or a heart right toward God and 
man, implies happiness as well as holiness. For it is not only 


" righteousness," but also " peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." 
What peace ? " The peace of God," which God only can 
give, and the world cannot take away ; the peace which 
"passeth all understanding," all barely rational conception; 
being a supernatural sensation, a divine taste, of "the powers 
of the world to come ; " such as the natural man knoweth 
not, how wise soever in the things of this world ; nor, indeed, 
can he know it, in his present state, " because it is spiritually 
discerned." It is a peace that banishes all doubt, all 
painful uncertainty; the Spirit of God bearing witness with 
the spirit of a Christian, that he is " a child of God." And 
it banishes fear, all such fear as hath torment ; the fear of 
the wrath of God ; the fear of hell ; the fear of the devil ; 
and, in particular, the fear of death : he that hath the peace 
of God, desiring, if it were the will of God, " to depart, and 
to be with Christ." 

1 1 . With this peace of God, wherever it is fixed in the 
soul, there is also "joy in the Holy Ghost ; " joy wrought in 
the heart by the Holy Ghost, by the ever-blessed Spirit of 
God. He it is that worketh in us that calm, humble rejoic- 
ing in God, through Christ Jesus, " by whom we have now 
received the atonement," Kara\\ayr)v, the reconciliation with 
God ; and that enables us boldly to confirm the truth of the 
royal Psalmist's declaration, "Blessed is the man " (or rather, 
happy) " whose unrighteousness is forgiven, and whose sin is 
covered." He it is that inspires the Christian soul with 
that even, solid joy, which arises from the testimony of the 
Spirit that he is a child of God; and that gives him to 
"rejoice with joy unspeakable, in hope of the glory of God;" 
hope both of the glorious image of God, which is in part, 
and shall be fully, "revealed in Him ; " and of that crown 
of glory which fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for him. 

12. This holiness and happiness, joined in one, are some- 
times styled, in the inspired writings, " the kingdom of God," 
(as by our Lord in the text,) and sometimes, "the kingdom 
of heaven." It is termed, "the kingdom of God," because 
it is the immediate fruit of God's reigning in the soul. So 
soon as ever He takes unto Himself His mighty power, and 


sets up Has throne in our hearts, they are instantly filled 
with this " righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost." It is called " the kingdom of heaven," because it 
is (in a degree) heaven opened in the soul. For whosoever 
they are that experience this, they can aver before angels 

and men, 

" Everlasting life is won, 
Glory is on earth begun ; " 

according to the constant tenor of Scripture, which every- 
where bears record, God " hath given unto us eternal life, 
and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son " (reign- 
ing in his heart) " hath life," even life everlasting. (1 John 
v. 11, 12.) For " this is life eternal, to know Thee the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (John 
xvii. 3.) And they to whom this is given may confidently 
address God, though they were in the midst of a fiery fur- 
nace, — 

" Thee, Lord, safe shielded by Thy power, 

Thee, Son of God, Jehovah, we adore ; 

In form of man descending to appear : 
To Thee be ceaseless hallelujahs given, 

Praise, as in heaven Thy throne, we offer here ; 
For where Thy presence is display'd, is heaven." 

13. And this "kingdom of God," or of heaven, "is at 
hand." As these words were originally spoken, they im- 
plied that " the time " was then fulfilled, God being " made 
manifest in the flesh," when He would set up His kingdom 
among men, and reign in the hearts of His people. And is 
not the time now fulfilled ? For, " Lo ! " (saith He,) " I am 
with you alway," you who preach remission of sins in My 
name, " even unto the end of the world." (Matt, xxviii. 20.) 
Wheresoever, therefore, the Gospel of Christ is preached, 
this His "kingdom is nigh at hand." It i s not f ar f rom 
every one of you. Te may this hour enter thereinto, if so 
be ye hearken to His voice, " Repent ye , an d believe the 

II. 1: This is the way: walk ye in it: And, first " re : 


pent ; " that is, know yourselves. This is the first repent- 
ance, previous to faith ; even conviction, or self-knowledge. 
Awake, then, thou that sleepest. Know thyself to be a 
sinner, and what manner of sinner, thou art. Know that 
corruption of thy inmost nature, whereby thou art very 
far gone from original righteousness, whereby " the flesh 
lusteth " always " contrary to the Spirit," through that 
" carnal mind " which " is enmity against God," which " is 
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." 
Know that thou art corrupted in every power, in every 
faculty of thy soul ; that thou art totally corrupted in every 
one of these, all the foundations being out of course. The 
eyes of thine understanding are darkened, so that they cannot 
discern God, or the things of God. The clouds of ignorance 
and error rest upon thee, and cover thee with the shadow of 
death. Thou knowest nothing yet as thou oughtest to know, 
neither God, nor the world, nor thyself. Thy will is no 
longer the will of God, but is utterly perverse and distorted, 
averse from all good, from all which God loves, and prone 
to all evil, to every abomination which God hateth. Thy 
affections are alienated from God, and scattered abroad over 
all the earth. All thy passions, both thy desires and aversions, 
thy joys and sorrows, thy hopes and fears, are out of frame, 
are either undue in their degree, or placed on undue objects. 
So that there is no soundness in thy soul ; but " from the 
crown of the head, to the sole of the foot," (to use the strong 
expression of the Prophet,) there are only "wounds, and 
bruises, and putrefying sores." 

a. Such is the inbred corruption of thy heart, of thy very 
inmost nature. And what manner of branches canst thou 
expect to grow from such an evil root ? Hence springs 
unbelief; ever departing from the living God; saying, "Who 
is the Lord, that I should serve Him ? Tush ! Thou God 
carest not for it." Hence independence ; affecting to be like 
the Most High. Hence pride, in all its forms ; teaching thee 
to say, " I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of 
nothing." From this evil fountain flow forth the bitter 
streams of vanity, thirst of praise, ambition, covetousness, 



the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of 
life. From this arise anger, hatred, malice, revenge, envy, 
jealousy, evil surmisings : from this, all the foolish and 
hurtful lusts that now "pierce thee through with many 
sorrows," and, if not timely prevented, will at length drown 
thy soul in everlasting perdition. 

3. And what fruits can grow on such branches as these ? 
Only such as are bitter and evil continually. Of pride cometh 
contention, vain boasting, seeking and receiving praise of men^ 
and so robbing God of that glory which He cannot give unto 
another. Of the lust of the flesh, come gluttony or drunken- 
ness, luxury or sensuality, fornication, uncleanness ; vari- 
ously defiling that body which was designed for a temple of 
the Holy Ghost : of unbelief, every evil word and work. But 
the time would fail, shouldest thou reckon up all ; all the idle 
words thou hast spoken, provoking the Most High, grieving 
the Holy One of Israel ; all the evil works thou hast donej 
either wholly evil in themselves, or, at least, not done to the 
glory of God. For thy actual sins are more than thou art 
able to express, more than the hairs of thy head. Who can 
number the sands of the sea, or the drops of rain, or thy 
iniquities ? 

4. And knowest thou not that "the wages of sin is 
death ? " — death, not only temporal, but eternal. " The soul 
that sinneth, it shall die; " for the mouth of the Lord hath 
Spoken it. It shall die the second death. This is the sen- 
tence, to "be punished" with never-ending death, "with 
everlasting destruction from the presence of the . Lord, and 
from the glory of His power." Knowest thou not that every 
sinner evoxoe ian rrj yeevvrj tov 7rvpoe,not properly "is in danger 
of hell-fire ; " that expression is far too weak ; but rather "is 
under the sentence of hell-fire ; " doomed already, just drag- 
ging to execution. Thou art guilty of everlasting death. It 
is the just reward of thy inward and outward wickedness. It 
is just that the sentence should now take place. Dost thoU 
see, dost thou feel this ? Art thou thoroughly convinced 
that thou deservest God's wrath,, and everlasting damnation? 
Would God do thee no wrong, if He, now commajided the 


earth to open, and swallow thee up ? if thou wert now to 
go down quick into the pit, into the fire that never shall be 
quenched ? If God hath given thee truly to repent, thou hast 
a deep sense that these things are so ; and that it is of His 
mere mercy thou art not consumed, swept away from the face 
of the earth. 

5. And what wilt thou do to appease the wrath of God, to 
atone for all thy sins, and to escape the punishment thou hast 
so justly deserved ? Alas, thou canst do nothing ; nothing 
that will in anywise make amends to God for one evil work, 
or word, or thought. If thou couldest now do all things well, 
if from this very hour till thy soul should return to God thou 
couldest perform perfect, uninterrupted obedience, even this 
would not atone for what is past. The not increasing thy 
debt would not discharge it. It would still remain as great 
as ever. Yea, the present and future obedience of all the men 
upon earth, and all the angels in heaven, would never make 
satisfaction to the justice of God for one single sin. How 
vain, then, was the thought of atoning for thy own sins, by 
anything thou couldest do ! It costeth far more to redeem 
one soul, than all mankind is able to pay. So that were there 
no other help for a guilty sinner, without doubt he must have 
perished everlastingly. 

6. But suppose perfect obedience, for the time to come, 
could atone for the sins that are past, this would profit thee 
nothing ; for thou art not able to perform it ; no, not in any 
one point. Begin now : make the trial. Shake off that out- 
ward sin that so easily besetteth thee. Thou canst not. How 
then wilt thou change thy life from all evil to all good ? 
Indeed, it is impossible to be done, unless first thy heart be 
changed. For, so long as the tree remains evil, it cannot 
bring forth good fruit. But art thou able to change thy own 
heart, from all sin to all holiness ? to quicken a soul that is 
dead in sin, — dead to God, and alive only to the world ? No 
more than thou art able to quicken a dead body, to raise to 
life him that lieth in the grave. Yea, thou art not able to 
quicken thy soul in any degree, no more than to give any 
degree of life to the dead body. Thou canst do nothing, more 



or less, in* this matter ; thou art utterly without strength. To 
be deeply sensible of this, how helpless thou art, as well as 
how guilty and how sinful, — this is that "repentance not to be 
repented of," which is the forerunner of the kingdom of God. 

7. If to this lively conviction of thy inward and outward 
sins, of thy utter guiltiness and helplessness, there be added 
suitable affections, — sorrow of heart, for having despised thy 
own mercies, — remorse, and self-condemnation, having thy 
mouth stopped, — shame to lift up thine eyes to heaven, — fear 
of the wrath of God abiding on thee, of His curse hanging 
over thy head, and of the fiery indignation ready to devour 
those who forget God, and obey not our Lord Jesus Christ, 
— earnest desire to escape from that indignation, to cease 
from evil, and learn to do well ; — then I say unto thee, in the 
name of the Lord, " Thou art not far from the kingdom of 
God." One step more, and thou shalt enter in. Thou dost 
"repent." Now, "believe the Gospel." 

8. The Gospel, (that is, good tidings, good news for guilty, 
helpless sinners,) in the largest sense of the word, means, the 
whole revelation made to men by Jesus Christ ; and some- 
times the whole account of what our Lord did and suffered 
while He tabernacled among men. The substance of all is, 
" Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners ; " or, 
" God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, 
to the end we might not perish, but have everlasting life ;" or, 
" He was bruised for our trangressions, He was wounded for 
our iniquities ; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him ; 
and with His stripes we are healed." 

9. Believe this, and the kingdom of God is thine. By faith 
thou attainest the promise. " He pardoneth and absolveth all 
that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe His holy Gospel." 
As soon as ever God hath spoken to thy heart, " Be of good 
cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee," His kingdom comes • thou 
hast "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost " 

10 Only beware thou do not deceive thy own soul, with 
regard to the nature of this faith. It is -not Q „ x. 

* ji ■ j i , , ,, ' as some have 

fondly conceived, a bare assent to the truth of the R'M f 

the articles of our Creed, or of all that is contained in the Ola 


and New Testament. The devils believe this, as well as I or 
thou ! And yet they are devils still. But it is, over and 
above this, a sure trust in the mercy of God, through Christ 
Jesus. It is a confidence in a pardoning God. It is a divine 
evidence or conviction that " God was in Christ, reconciling 
the world to Himself, not imputing to them their " former 
" trespasses ; " and in particular, that the Son of God hath 
loved me, and given Himself for me ; and that I, even I, am 
now reconciled to God by the blood of the cross. 

ii. Dost thou thus believe ? Then the peace of God is 
in thy heart, and sorrow and sighing flee away. Thou art no 
longer in doubt of the love of God ; it is clear as the noon-day 
sun. Thou criest out, " My song shall be always of the loving- 
kindness of the Lord : with my mouth will I ever be telling 
of Thy truth, from one generation to another." Thou art no 
longer afraid of hell, or death, or him that had once the power 
of death, the devil ; no, nor painfully afraid of God Himself ; 
only thou hast a tender, filial fear of offending Him. Dost 
thou believe ? Then thy " soul doth magnify the Lord," and 
thy " spirit rejoiceth in God thy Saviour." Thou rejoicest 
in that thou hast " redemption through His blood, even the 
forgiveness of sins." Thou rejoicest in that " Spirit of 
adoption," which crieth in thy heart, " Abba, Father ! " 
Thou rejoicest in a " hope full of immortality ; " in reaching 
forth unto the " mark for the prize of thy high calling ; " in 
an earnest expectation of all the good things which God hath 
prepared for them that love Him. 

ia. Dost thou now believe ? Then " the love of God is " 
now " shed abroad in thy heart." Thou lovest Him, because 
He first loved us. And, because thou lovest God, thou lovest 
thy brother also. And being filled with " love, peace, joy," 
thou art also filled with "long-suffering, gentleness, fidelity, 
goodness, meekness, temperance," and all the other fruits of 
the same Spirit ; in a word, with whatever dispositions are 
holy, are heavenly, or divine. For while thou "beholdest 
with open," uncovered " face " (the veil now being taken 
away) "the glory of the Lord," His glorious love, and the 
glorious image wherein thou wast created, thou art " changed 

38 The way to the kingdom. 

into the same image from glory to glory, by the Spirit of 
the Lord." 

13. This repentance, this faith, this peace, joy, love ; this 
change from glory to glory, is what the wisdom of the world 
has voted to be madness, mere enthusiasm, utter distraction. 
But thou, O man of God, regard them not ; be thou : moved 
by none of these things. Thou knowest in whom thou hast 
believed. See that no man take thy crown. Whereunto thou 
hast already attained, hold fast, and follow, till thou attain all 
the great and precious promises. And thou who hast not yet 
known Him, let not vain men make thee ashamed of the 
Gospel of Christ. Be thou in nothing terrified by those who 
speak evil of the things which they know not. God will soon 
turn thy heaviness into joy. O let not thy hands hang down ! 
Yet a little longer, and He will take away thy fears, and give 
thee the spirit of a sound mind. He is nigh "that justifieth : 
who is He that condemneth ? It is Christ that died, yea 
rather, that rose again, who is even now at the right hand of 
God, making intercession " for thee. 

Now cast thyself on the Lamb of God, with all thy sins, 
how many soever they be; and "an entrance shall" now 
" be ministered unto thee into the kingdom of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ ! " ' ' 

In what does religion not consist 1 

" In anything exterior to the heart." — Sec. I. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 

Then what is the real value of forms and ceremonies 1 

" Supposing them to be ever so decent," etc. — Sec. I. 4. 

Whom does Wesley mention as the paragon of unsaving orthodoxy 

" He may be almost as orthodox as the devil," etc. Sec. I. 6. 

What is it to " love thy neighbour as thyself " ? 

"Thou shalt embrace with the most tender goodwill" etc — 
Sec I. 8. 

What does true religion imply besides holiness ? 
" Happiness."— Sec 1.9. 


" There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in 
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, out after the 
Spirit." Romans viii. 1. 

BY " them which are in Christ Jesus," St. Paul evidently 
means, those who truly believe in Him ; those who, 
" being justified by faith, have peace with God through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." They who thus believe do no longer 
" walk after the flesh," no longer follow the motions of corrupt 
nature, but " after the spirit ; " both their thoughts, words, 
and works are under the direction of the blessed Spirit of 

2. " There is therefore now no condemnation to " these. 
There is no condemnation to them from God ; for He hath 
justified them " freely by His grace through the redemption 
that is in Jesus." He hath forgiven all their iniquities, and 
blotted out all their sins. And there is no condemnation to 
them from within ; for they " have received, not the spirit of 
the world, but the Spirit which is of God ; that they might 
know the things which are freely given to them of God ; " 
(1 Cor. ii. 12 ;) which Spirit " beareth witness with their 
spirits, that they are the children of God." And to this is 
added the testimony of their conscience, " that in simplicity 
and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the 
grace of God, they have had their conversation in the world." 
(2 Cor. i. 12.) 

3. But because this scripture has been so frequently mis- 
understood, and that in so dangerous a manner ; because such 
multitudes of " unlearned and unstable men " (01 ayuafeie kcu 
<J9»jpuToi, men untaught of God, and consequently unestab- 
lished in the truth which is after godliness) have wrested it to 


their own destruction ; I propose to show, as clearly as I can, 
first, who those are " which are in Christ Jesus," and " walk 
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ; " and, secondly, how 
" there is no condemnation to " these. I shall conclude with 
some practical inferences. 

1. i. First, I am to show, who those are that " are in 
Christ Jesus." And are they not those who believe in His 
name ? those who are " found in Him, not having their own 
righteousness, but the righteousness which is of God by 
faith ? " These, " who have redemption through His blood," 
are properly said to be in Sim ; for they dwell in Christ, and 
Christ in them. They are joined unto the Lord in one Spirit. 
They are ingrafted into Him, as branches into the vine. They 
are united, as members to their head, in a manner which 
words cannot express, nor could it before enter into their 
hearts to conceive. 

2. Now " whosoever abideth in Him, sinneth not ; " 
" walketh not after the flesh." The flesh, in the usual lan- 
guage of St. Paul, signifies corrupt nature. In this sense 
he uses the word, writing to the Galatians, " The works of 
the flesh are manifest ; " (Gal. v. 19 ;) and a little before, 
" "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust " (or 
desire) " of the flesh." (Ver. 16.) To prove which, namely, 
that those who " walk by the Spirit " do not " fulfil the lusts 
of the flesh," he immediately adds, " For the flesh lusteth 
against the Spirit, and the Spirit lusteth against the flesh ; 
(for these are contrary to each other;) that ye may not do 
the things which ye would." So the words are literally trans- 
lated, (tva fir) a ay fleXijre, Tavra iroirjre,) not, " So that ye 
cannot do the things that ye would ; " as if the flesh over- 
came the Spirit : a translation which hath not only nothing 

o do with the original text of the Apostle, but likewise 
makes his whole argument nothing worth ; yea, asserts just 
the reverse of what he is proving. 

3. They who are of Christ, who abide in Him " have 
crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." They 
abstain from all those works of the flesh ; from " adultery and 


fornication ; " from " uncleanness and lasciviousness ; " from 
"idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance ; " from "emulations, 
wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envyings, murders, drunken- 
ness, revellings ; " from every design, and word, and work, 
to which the corruption of nature leads. Although they feel 
the root of bitterness in themselves, yet are they endued 
with power from on high to trample it continually under 
foot, so that it cannot " spring up to trouble them ; " insomuch 
that every fresh assault which they undergo, only gives them 
fresh occasion of praise, of crying out, " Thanks be unto 
God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our 

4. They now " walk after the Spirit," both in their hearts 
and lives. They are taught of Him to love God and their 
neighbour, with a love which is as " a well of water, spring- 
ing up into everlasting life." And by Him they are led into 
eveiy holy desire, into every divine and heavenly temper, 
till every thought which arises in their heart is holiness unto 
the Lord. 

5. They who " walk after the Spirit " are also led by Him 
into all holiness of conversation. Their " speech is always 
in grace, seasoned with salt ; " with the love and fear of God. 
''No corrupt communication comes out of their mouth ; but 
only that which is good ; " that which is " to the use of 
edifying ; " which is ■" meet to minister grace to the hearers." 
And herein likewise do they exercise themselves day and 
night, to do only the things which please God ; in all their 
outward behaviour to follow Him " who left us an example 
that we might tread in His steps ; " in all their intercourse 
with their neighbour, to walk in justice, mercy, and truth ; 
and "whatsoever they do," in every circumstance of life, to 
"do all to the glory of God." 

6. These are they who indeed " walk after the Spirit." 
Being filled with faith and with the Holy Ghost, they possess 
in their hearts, and show forth in their lives, in the whole 
course of their words and actions, the genuine fruits of the 
Spirit of God, namely, " love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance," and 


whatsoever else is lovely or praiseworthy. " They adorn in 
all things the Gospel of God our Saviour;" and give full 
proof to all mankind, that they are indeed actuated by the 
same Spirit " which raised up Jesus from the dead." 

II. i. I proposed to show, in the second place, how, 
" there is no condemnation to them which are " thus "in 
Christ Jesus," and thus " walk not after the flesh, but after 
the Spirit." 

And, first, to believers in Christ, walking thus, " there ig 
no condemnation " on account of their past sins. God con- 
demneth them not for any of these : they are as though they 
had never been ; they are cast " as a stone into the depth of 
the sea," and he remembereth them no more. God, having 
" set forth His Son to be a propitiation " for them " through 
faith in His blood," hath declared unto them " His righteous- 
ness for the remission of the sins that are past." He layeth 
therefore none of these to their charge ; their memorial is 
perished with them. 

2. And there is no condemnation in their own breast; no 
sense of guilt, or dread of the wrath of God. They " have 
the witness in themselves : " they are conscious of their in- 
terest in the blood of sprinkling. " They have not received 
again the spirit of bondage unto fear," unto doubt and 
racking uncertainty ; but they " have received the Spirit of 
adoption," crying in their heart, "Abba, Father." Thus, 
being "justified by faith," they have the peace of God ruling 
in their hearts ; flowing from a continual sense of His par- 
doning mercy, and " the answer of a good conscience toward 

3. If it be said, " But sometimes a believer in Christ may 
lose his sight of the mercy of God ; sometimes such darkness 
may fall upon him that he no longer sees Him that is in- 
visible, no longer feels that witness in himself of his part in 
the atoning blood ; and then he is inwardly condemned he 
hath again 'the sentence of death in himself:'" I answer 
supposing it so to be, supposing him not to see the mercy of 
God, then he is not a believer : for faith implies light • the 


light of God shining upon the soul. So far, therefore, as any- 
one loses this light, he, for the time, loses his faith. And, no 
doubt, a true believer in Christ may lose the light of faith ; 
and so far as this is lost, he may, for a time, fall again into 
condemnation. But this is not the case of them who now 
"are in Christ Jesus," who now believe in His name. For so 
long a.s they believe, and walk after the Spirit, neither God 
condemns them, nor their own heart. 

4. They are not condemned, secondly, for any present sins, 
for now transgressing the commandments of God. For they 
do not transgress them : they do not " walk after the flesh, 
but after the Spirit." This is the continual proof of their 
"love of God, that they keep His commandments ; " even as 
St. John bears witness, " Whosoever is born of God doth not 
commit sin. For His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot 
sin, because he is born of God : " he cannot, so long as that 
seed of God, that loving, holy faith remaineth in him. So 
long as " he keepeth himself " herein, " that wicked one 
toucheth him not." Now it is evident, he is not condemned 
for the sins which he doth not commit at all. They, there- 
fore, who are thus " led by the Spirit are not under the law : " 
(Gal. v. 18 :) not under the curse or condemnation of it ; for 
it condemns none but those who break it. Thus, that law of 
God, " Thou shalt not steal," condemns none but those who 
do steal. Thus, " Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it 
holy," condemns those only who do not keep it holy. But 
against the fruits of the Spirit " there is no law ; " (ver. 
-3;) as the Apostle more largely declares in those memorable 
words of his former Epistle to Timothy : " We know that 
the law is good, if a man use it lawfully ; knowing this," (if, 
while he uses the law of God, in order either to convince or 
direct, he know and remember this,) on litraliD vofioQ ov Kelrai, 
(not " that the law is not made for a righteous man," 
but) "that the law does - not lie against a righteous man : " 
it has no force against him, no power to condemn him ; " but 
against the lawless and disobedient, against the ungodly and 
sinners, against the unholy and profane ; according to the 
glorious Gospel of the blessed God." (1 Tim. i. 8, 9, 11.) 


5. They are not condemned, thirdly, for inward sin, even 
though it does now remain. That the corruption of nature 
does still remain, even in those who ase the children of God 
by faith ; that they have in them the seeds of pride and vanity, 
of anger, lust, and evil desire, yea, sin of every kind ; is too 
plain to be denied, being matter of daily experience. And on 
this account it is, that St. Paul, speaking to those whom he 
had just before witnessed to be " in Christ Jesus," (1 Cor. i. 
2, 9,) to have been " called of God into the fellowship " (or 
participation) " of His Son Jesus Christ ; " yet declares, 
" Brethren, I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but 
as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ : " (1 Cor. iii. 1 :) 
"babes in Christ; " so we see they were "in Christ; " they 
were believers in a low degree. And yet how much of sin 
remained in them ! of that " carnal mind, which is not sub- 
ject to the law of God ! " 

6. And yet, for all this, they are not condemned. Although 
they feel the flesh, the evil nature, in them ; although they 
are more sensible, day by day, that their " heart is deceitful 
and desperately wicked; " yet, so long as they do not yield 
thereto ; so long as they give no place to the devil ; so long 
as they maintain a continual war with all sin, with pride, 
anger, desire, so that the flesh hath not dominion over them, 
but they still " walk after the Spirit ; " " there is no condem- 
nation to them which are in Christ Jesus." God is well- 
pleased with their sincere, though imperfect obedience ; and 
they " have confidence toward God," knowing they are His, 
" by the Spirit which He hath given " them. (1 John iii 24.) 

7. Nay, fourthly, although they are continually convinced 
of sin cleaving to all they do ; although they are conscious 
of not fulfilling the perfect law, either in their thoughts, or 
words, or works ; although they know they do not love the 
Lord their God with all their heart, and mind, and soul and 
strength ; although they feel more or less of pride or self- 
will, stealing in and mixing with their best duties ; although 
even in their more immediate intercourse with God when 
they assemble themselves with the great congregation and 
when they pour out their souls in secret to Him who seeth all 


the thoughts and intents of the heart, they are continually 
ashamed of their wandering thoughts, or of the deadness and 
dulness of their affections ; yet there is no condemnation to 
them still, either from God or from their own heart. The 
consideration of these manifold defects only gives them a 
deeper sense that they have always need of that blood of 
sprinkling which speaks for them in the ears of God, and 
that Advocate with the Father " who ever liveth to make 
intercession for them." So far are these from driving them 
away from Him in whom they have believed, that they rather 
drive them the closer to Him whom they feel the want of 
every moment. And, at the same time, the deeper sense 
they have of this want, the more earnest desire do they feel, 
and the more diligent they are, as they " have received the 
Lord Jesus, so to walk in Him." 

8. They are not condemned, fifthly, for sins of infirmity, 
as they are usually called. Perhaps it were advisable rather 
to call them infirmities, that we may not seem to give any 
countenance to sin, or to extenuate it in any degree, by thus 
coupling it with infirmity. But, (if we must retain so 
ambiguous and dangerous an expression,) by sins of infirmity 
I would mean, such involuntary failings as the saying a thing 
we believe true, though, in fact, it prove to be false ; or, the 
hurting our neighbour without knowing or designing it, 
perhaps when we designed to do him good. Though these 
are deviations from the holy, and acceptable, and perfect will 
of God, yet they are not properly sins, nor do they bring any 
guilt on the conscience of " them which are in Christ Jesus." 
They separate not between God and them, neither intercept 
the light of His countenance ; as being no ways inconsistent 
with their general character of " walking not after the flesh, 
but after the Spirit." 

9. Lastly. " There is no condemnation " to them for 
anything whatever which it is not in their power to help ; 
whether it be of an inward or outward nature, and whether 
it be doing something or leaving something undone. For 
instance, the Lord's supper is to be administered ; but you do 
not partake thereof. Why do you not r* You are confined 


by sickness ; therefore you cannot help omitting it; and for 
the same reason you are not condemned. There is no guilt, 
because there is no choice. As there " is a willing mind; it is 
accepted according to that a man hath, not according to that 
he hath not." 

10. A believer, indeed, may sometimes be grieved, because 
he cannot do what his soul longs for. He may cry out, when 
he is detained from worshipping God in the great congrega- 
tion, " Like as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so 
panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul is athirst for 
God, yea, even for the living God : when shall I come to 
appear in the presence of God ? " He may earnestly desire 
(only still saying in his heart, " Not as I will, but as Thou 
wilt ") to " go again with the multitude, and bring them forth 
into the house of God." But still, if he cannot go, he feels 
no condemnation, no guilt, no sense of God's displeasure ; but 
can cheerfully yield up those desires with, " my soul, put 
thy trust in God ! for I will yet give Him thanks, who is the 
help of my countenance and my God." 

11. It is more difficult to determine concerning those 
which are usually styled sins of surprise ; as when one who 
commonly in patience possesses his soul, on a sudden and 
violent temptation, speaks or acts in a manner not consisted 
with the royal law, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself." Perhaps it is not easy to fix a general rule con 
cerning transgressions of this nature. We cannot say, eithe; 
that men are, or that they are not, condemned for sins o 
surprise in general : but it seems, whenever a believeris b; 
surprise overtaken in a fault, there is more or less condem 
nation, as there is more or less concurrence of his will. 1 
proportion as a sinful desire, or word, or action is more o 
less voluntary, so we may conceive God is more or less dig 
pleased, and there is more or less guilt upon the soul. 

j 2. But if so, then there may be some sins of surpris 
which bring much guilt and condemnation. For in som 
instances, our being surprised is owing to some wilful an 
culpable neglect ; or, to a sleepiness of soul which might ha"? 
been prevented, or shaken off before the temptation cam* 


L man may be previously warned either of God or man, that 

rials and dangers are at hand ; and yet may say in his heart, 

A little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to 

est." Now, if such an one afterwards fall, though unawares, 

uto the snare which he might have avoided, — that he fell 

'mawares is no excuse ; he might have foreseen and have 

shunned the danger. The falling, even by surprise, in such 

an instance as this, is, in effect, a wilful sin ; and, as such, 

must expose the sinner to condemnation, both from God and 

his own conscience. 

13. On the other hand, there may be sudden assaults, 
either from the world, or the god of this world, and frequently 
from our own evil hearts, which we did not, and hardly 
could, foresee. And by these even a believer, while weak in 
faith, may possibly be borne down, suppose into a degree of 
anger, or thinking evil of another, with scarce any concurrence 
of his will. Now, in such a case, the jealous God would 
undoubtedly show him that he had done foolishly. He would 
be convinced of having swerved from the perfect law, from 
the mind which was in Christ, and consequently, grieved with 
a godly sorrow, and lovingly ashamed before God. Yet need 
he not come into condemnation. God layeth not folly to his 
charge, but hath compassion upon him, " even as a father 
pitieth his own children." And his heart condemneth him 
not : in the midst of that sorrow and shame he can still say, 
" I will trust and not be afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah is my 
strength and my song ; he also is become my salvation." 

III. 1. It remains only to draw some practical inferences 
from the preceding considerations. 

And, first, if there be " no condemnation to them which 
are in Christ Jesus," and "walk not after the flesh, but after 
the Spirit," on account of their past sin ; then why art thou 
fearful, thou of littlo faith ? Though thy sins were once 
moro in number than the sand, what is that to thee, now 
thou art in Christ Jesus V "Who shall lay anything to the 
charge of God's elect Y It is God that justifieth: who is he 
that condemneth ? " All the sins thou hast committed from 


thy youth* up, until the hour when thou wast " accepted in 
the Beloved," are driven away as chaff, are gone, are lost, 
swallowed up, remembered no more. Thou art now " born- of 
the Spirit : " wilt thou be troubled or afraid of what is done 
before thou wert born ? Away with thy fears ! Thou art 
not called to fear, but to the " spirit of love and of a sound 
mind." Know thy calling ! Rejoice in God thy Saviour, and 
give thanks to God thy Father through Him. 

2. "Wilt thou say, " But I have again committed sin, since 
I had redemption through His blood ? And therefore it is, 
that ' I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' " It is 
meet thou shouldest abhor thyself ; and it is God who hath 
wrought thee to this self- same thing. But, dost thou now 
believe ? Hath He again enabled thee to say, " I know that 
my Redeemer liveth ; " " and the life which I now live, I live 
by faith in the Son of God ? " Then that faith again cancels 
all that is past, and there is no condemnation to thee. At 
whatsoever time thou truly believest in the name of the Son 
of God, all thy sins, antecedent to that hour, vanish away as 
the morning dew. Now then, " stand thou fast in the liberty 
wherewith Christ hath made thee free." He hath once more 
made thee free from the power of sin, as well as from the guilt 
and punishment of it. O " be not entangled again with the 
yoke of bondage ! " — neither the vile, devilish bondage of sin, 
of evil desires, evil tempei'S, or words, or works, the most 
grievous yoke on this side hell ; nor the bondage of slavish, 
tormenting fear, of guilt and self-condemnation. 

3 . But secondly, do all they which abide " in Christ 
Jesus, walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ?" Then we 
cannot but infer, that whosoever now committeth sin, hath 
no part or lot in this matter. He is even now condemned by 
his own heart. But, " if our heart condemn us," if our own 
conscience beareth witness that we are guilty, undoubtedly 
God doth ; for " He is greater than our heart, and knoweth all 
things ; " so that we cannot deceive Him, if we can ourselves. 
And think not to say, " I was justified once ; my sins were 
once forgiven me : " I know not that ; neither will 1 dispute 
whether they were or no. Perhaps at this distance of time, 


it is next to impossible to know, with any tolerable degree of 
certainty, whether that was a true, genuine work of God, or 
whether thou didst only deceive thy own soul. But this I 
know, with the utmost degree of certainty, " he that com- 
mitteth sin is of the devil." Therefore, thou art of thy father 
the devil. It cannot be denied : for the works of thy father 
thou doest. natter not thyself with vain hopes ! Say not 
to thy soul, " Peace, peace ! " For there is no peace. Cry 
aloud ! Cry unto God out of the deep ; if haply He may hear 
thy voice. Come unto Him as at first, as wretched and poor, 
as sinful, miserable, blind and naked! And beware thou 
suffer thy soul to take no rest, till His pardoning love be again 
revealed; till He "heal thy backslidings," and fill thee again 
with the " faith that worketh by love." 

4. Thirdly. Is there no condemnation to them which 
" walk after the Spirit," by reason of inward sin still remain- 
ing, so long as they do not give way thereto ; nor by reason 
of sin cleaving to all they do ? Then fret not thyself because 
of ungodliness, though it still remain in thy heart. Repine 
not, because thou still comest short of the glorious image of 
God ; nor yet because pride, self-will, or unbelief, cleave to all 
thy words and works. And be not afraid to know all this 
evil of thy heart, to know thyself as also thou art known. 
Yea, desire of God, that thou mayest not think of thyself 
more highly than thou oughtest to think. Let thy continual 
prayer be, 

" Show me, as my soul can bear, 

The depth of inbred sin ; 
All the unbelief declare, 

The pride that lurks within." 

But when He heareth thy prayer, and unveils thy heart ; when 
He shows thee thoroughly what spirit thou art of ; then beware 
that thy faith fail thee not, that thou suffer not thy shield to 
be torn from thee. Be abased. Be humbled in the dust. See 
thyself nothing, less than nothing, and vanity. But still, " let 
not thy heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Still hold 
fast, " I, even I, have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus 
Christ the righteous." " And as the heavens are higher than 



the earth, so is His love higher than even my sins." Therefore 
God is merciful to thee a sinner ! such a sinner as thou art I 
God is love ; and Christ hath died ! Therefore the Father 
Himself loveth thee ! Thou art His child ! Therefore He will 
withhold from thee no manner of thing that is good. Is it 
good, that the whole body of sin, which is now crucified in 
thee, should be destroyed ? It shall be done ! Thou shalt be 
" cleansed from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit." Is it 
good, that nothing should remain in thy heart but the pure 
love of God alone ? Be of good cheer ! " Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and mind, and soul, and 
strength." " Faithful is He that hath promised, who also will 
do it." It is thy part, patiently to continue in the work of 
faith, and in the labour of love ; and in cheerful peace, in 
humble confidence, with calm and resigned and yet earnest 
expectation, to wait till the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall 
perform this. 

5. Fourthly. If they that " are in Christ," and "walk 
after the Spirit," are not condemned for sins of infirmity, as 
neither for involuntary failings, nor for anything whatever 
which they are not able to help ; then beware, O thou that 
hast faith in His blood, that Satan herein gain no advantage 
over thee. Thou are still foolish and weak, blind and igno- 
rant ; more weak than any words can express ; more foolish 
than it can yet enter into thy heart to conceive ; knowing 
nothing yet as thou oughtest to know. Yet, let not all thy 
weakness and folly, or any fruit thereof, which thou art noi 
yet able to avoid, shake thy faith, thy filial trust in God, 01 
disturb thy peace or joy in the Lord. The rule which some 
give, as to wilful sins, and which, in that case, may perhaps 
be dangerous, is undoubtedly wise and safe if it be appliec 
only to the case of weakness and infirmities. Art thou fallen 
O man of God ? Yet, do not lie there, fretting thyself anc 
bemoaning thy weakness ; but meekly say, « Lord, I shall fal 
thus every moment, unless thou uphold me with thy hand.' 
And then arise ! Leap and walk ! Go on thy way ! " Bui 
with patience the race that is set before thee." 

6. Lastly. Since a believer need not come into condem 


lation, even though he be surprised into what his soul abhors ; 
(suppose his being surprised is not owing to any carelessness 
or wilful neglect of his own ;) if thou whobelievest art thus 
overtaken in a fault, then grieve unto the Lord : it shall be 
a precious balm. Pour out thy heart before Him, and show 
Him of thy trouble ; and pray with all thy might to Him 
who is " touched with the feeling of thy infirmities," that He 
would establish, and strengthen, and settle thy soul, and 
suffer thee to fall no more. But still He condemneth thee 
not. Wherefore shouldest thou fear ? Thou hast no need of 
any " fear that hath torment." Thou shalt love Him that 
loveth thee, and it sufhceth : more love will bring more 
strength. And, as soon as thou lovest Him with all thy 
heart, thou shalt be "perfect and entire, lacking nothing.'' 
Wait in peace for that hour, when " the God of peace shall 
sanctify thee wholly, so that thy whole spirit and soul and 
body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our 
Lord Jesus Christ ! " 

Are those i: who arc in Christ Jesus" condemned for the remains of sin 
within them ? 
" They arc not condemned." — Sec. II. 5. 

IIow is this proved ? 

" St. Paul, speaking," etc. Ibid. 

Arc they merely not condemned ? 

'■ God is nell pleased with their sincere though imperfect obedience." 

—Sec II. G. 
Cut is there no condemnation in their own consciences, if not in the mind 

of God? 

No. " Although they arc continually convinced of sin cleaving to 

all they do," etc.— Sec. II. 7. 
Is the phrase " sins of infirmity " safe and unexceptionable 1 

It is " an ambiguous and dangerous expression."— Sec. II. 8. 

What arc really " sins of surprise " ? 

Those in which "more or less concurrence of the will," etc. (11) ; or 
"some wilful and culpable neglect," or "a sleepiness of soul, 
etc."— Src. II. 11, 12. 


What is Wesley's advice to those who are conscious of " inward sin stil 
remaining, so long as they do not give way thereto " 1 
" Fret not thyself because of ungodliness," etc.— Sec. III. 4. 

What is the reply to those who express self -abhorrence 1 

" It is meet thou shouldest abhor thyself," etc. -Sec. III. 2. 

What is his advice to those who have fallen ? 
" Yet, do not lie there," etc.— Sec. III. 5. 

What is the process and what the progress of sanctification ? 
'• More love will bring more strength," etc.— Sec. III. 6. 


" Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear ; but 
ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, 
Abba, Father" Eomans viii. 15. 

ST. Paul here speaks to those who are the children of 
God by faith. " Ye," saith he, who are indeed His chil- 
dren, have drank into His Spirit ; " ye have not received the 
spirit of bondage again unto fear;" but, "because ye are 
sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your 
hearts." "Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby 
we cry, Abba, Father." 

2. The spirit of bondage and fear is widely distant from 
this loving Spirit of adoption : those who are influenced only 
by slavish fear cannot be termed " the sons of G-od ; " yet 
some of them may be styled His servants, and are " not far 
from the kingdom of heaven." 

3. But it is to be feared, the bulk of mankind, yea, of 
what is called the Christian world, have not attained even 
this ; but are still afar off, " neither is God in all their 
thoughts." A few names may be found of those who love 
God ; a few more there are that fear Him ; but the greater 
part have neither the fear of God before their eyes, nor the 
love of God in their hearts. 

4. Perhaps most of you, who, by the mercy of God, now 
partake of a better spirit, may remember the time when ye 
were as they, when ye were under the same condemnation. 
But at first ye knew it not, though ye were wallowing daily 
in your sins and in your blood ; till, in due time, ye " re- 
ceived the spirit of fear ;" (ye received, for this also is the 


gift of God ;) and afterwards, fear vanished away, and the 
Spirit of love filled your hearts. 

5. One who is in the first state of mind, without fear or 
love, is in Scripture termed a " natural man : " one who is 
under the spirit of bondage and fear, is sometimes said to be 
" under the law : " (although that expression more frequently 
signifies one who is under the Jewish dispensation, or who 
thinks himself obliged to observe all the rites and ceremonies 
of the Jewish law :) but one who has exchanged the spirit 
of fear for the Spirit of love is properly said to be " under 

Now, because it highly imports us to know what spirit 
we are of, I shall endeavour to point out distinctly, first, the 
state of a "natural man;" secondly, that of one who Je 
" under the law ; " and, thirdly, of one who is " undei 

I. 1. And, first, the state of a natural man. This, the 
Scripture represents as a state of sleep : the voice of God to 
him is, " Awake thou that sleepest." For his soul is in" a 
deep sleep : his spiritual senses are not awake : they discern 
neither spiritual good nor evil. The eyes of his understand- 
ing are closed ; they are sealed together, and see not. Clouds 
and darkness continually rest upon them ; for he lies in the 
valley of the shadow of death. . Hence, having no inlets for 
the knowledge of spiritual things, all the avenues of his 
soul being shut up, he is in gross, stupid ignorance of what- 
ever he is most concerned to know. He is utterly ignorant 
of God, knowing nothing concerning Him as he ought to 
know. He is totally a stranger to the law of God, as to its 
true, inward, spiritual meaning. He has no conceptibn^of 
that evangelical holiness, without which no man shall see 
the Lord; nor of the happiness which they only find whose 
" life is hid with Christ in God." 

2-. And, for this very reason, because he is fast asleep, he 
is, in some sense, at rest. Because he is blind, he is also 
secure : he saith,. ?' Tush, :there shall no harm happen unto 
me.".,; The darkness which covers him on, every side, keeps 


him in a kind of peace ; so far as peace can consist with the 
-works of the devil, and with an earthly, devilish mind. He 
sees not that he stands on the edge of the pit ; therefore he 
fears it not. He cannot tremble at the danger he does not 
know. He has not under-standing enough to fear. Why is it 
that he is in no dread of God ? Because he is totally ignor- 
ant of Him : if not saying in his heart, " There is no God ; " 
or, that " He sitteth on the circle of the heavens, and hum- 
bleth " not " Himself to behold the things which are done 
on earth; " yet satisfying himself as well, to all Epicurean 
intents and purposes, by saying, " God is merciful ; " con- 
founding and swallowing up all at once in that unwieldy 
idea of mercy all His holiness and essential hatred of sin ; 
all His justice, wisdom, and truth. He is in no dread of the 
vengeance denounced against those who obey not the blessed 
law of God, because he understands it not. He imagines 
the main point is, to do thus, to be outivardhj blameless ; and 
sees not that it extends to every temper, desire, thought, 
motion of the heart. Or he fancies that the obligation 
hereto is ceased ; that Christ came to " destroy the Law and 
the Prophets ; " to save His people in, not from, their sins ; 
to bring them to heaven without holiness : — notwithstanding 
His own words, " Not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass 
away, till all things are f ulfilled ; " and, " Not every one that 
saith unto Me, Lord, Lord ! shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven ; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is 
in heaven." 

3. He is secure, because he is utterly ignorant of himself. 
Hence he talks of "repenting by and by;" lie docs not 
indeed exactly know when, but some time or other before he 
dies; taking it for granted, that this is quite in Lis own 
power. For what should hinder his doing it, if he will ? If 
he does but onco set a resolution, no fear but he will make it 
good ! 

4. But this ignorance never so strongly glares, as in those 
who are termed men of learning. If a natural man be one 
of these, he can talk at large of his rational faculties, of the 
freedom of his will, and the absolute necessity of such free- 


dom, in order to constitute man a moral agent. He reads/ 
and argues, and proves to a demonstration, that every man 
may do as he will ; may dispose his own heart to evil or 
good, as it seems best in his own eyes. Thus the god of this 
world spreads a double veil of blindness over his heart, lest, 
by any means, " the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ 
should shine " upon it. 

5. From the same ignorance of himself and God, there 
may sometimes arise, in the natural man, a kind of joy, in 
congratulating himself upon his own wisdom and goodness ; 
and what the world calls joy, he may often possess. He may 
have pleasure in various kinds ; either in gratifying the 
desires of the flesh, or the desire of the eye, or the pride of 
life ; particularly if he has large possessions ; if he enjoy an 
affluent fortune ; then he may " clothe " himself " in purple 
and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day." And so 
long as he thus doeth well unto himself, men will doubtless 
speak good of him. They will say, " He is a happy man." 
For, indeed, this is the sum of worldly happiness ; to dress, 
and visit, and talk, and eat, and drink, and rise up to play. 

6. It is not surprising, if one in such circumstances as 
these, dosed with the opiates of flattery and sin, should 
imagine, among his other waking dreams, that he walks in 
great liberty. How easily may he persuade himself, that he 
is at liberty from all vulgar errors, and from the prejudice of 
education ; judging exactly right, and keeping clear of all 
extremes. " I am free," may he say, "from all the enthusiasm 
of weak and narrow souls ; from superstition, the disease of 
fools and cowards, always righteous over much ; and from 
higotry, continually incident to those who have not a free 
and generous way of thinking." And too sure it is, that he 
is altogether free from the "wisdom which cometh from 
above," from holiness, from the religion of the heart, from 
the whole mind which was in Christ. 

7. For all this time he is the servant of sin. He commits 
sin, more or less, day by day. Tet he is not troubled : he 
" is in no bondage," as some speak ; he feels no condemna- 
tion. He contents himself (even though he should profess to 


believe that the Christian J&evelation is of God) with, "Man 
is frail. We are all weak. Every man has his infirmity." 
Perhaps he quotes Scripture: "Why, does not Solomon 
gay __The righteous man falls into sin seven times a day ? 
And, doubtless, they are all hypocrites or enthusiasts who 
pretend to be better than their neighbours." If, at any 
time, a serious thought fix upon him, he stifles it as soon as 
possible, with, " Why should I fear, since God is merciful, 
and Christ died for sinners ? " Thus, he remains a willing 
servant of sin, content with the bondage of corruption ; 
inwardly and outwardly unholy, and satisfied therewith ; not 
only not conquering sin, but not striving to conquer, par- 
ticularly that sin which doth so easily beset him. 

8. Such is the state of every natural man ; whether he 
be a gross, scandalous transgressor, or a more reputable and 
decent sinner, having the form, though not the power, of 
godliness. But how can such an one be convinced of sin ? 
How is he brought to repent ? to be under the law ? to receive 
the spirit of bondage unto fear ? This is the point which is 
next to be considered. 

II. i. By some awful providence, or by His word applied 
with the demonstration of His Spirit, God touches the heart 
of him that lay asleep in darkness and in the shadow of death. 
He is^ terribly shaken out of his sleep, and awakes into a 
consciousness of his danger. Perhaps in a moment, perhaps 
by degrees, the eyes of his understanding are opened, and 
now first (the veil being in part removed) discern the real 
state he is in. Horrid light breaks in upon his soul ; such 
light as may be conceived to gleam from the bottomless pit, 
from the lowest deep, from a lake of fire burning with brim- 
stone. He at last sees the loving, the merciful God is also 
a consuming fire • " that He is a just God and a terrible, ren- 
dering to every man according to his works, entering into 
judgment with the ungodly for every idle word, yea, and for 
the imaginations of the heart. He now clearly perceives, that 
the great and holy God is " of purer eyes than to behold 
iniquity;" that He is an avenger of every one who rebelleth 


against Him, and repayeth the wicked to his face ; and 
that " it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living 

2. The inward, spiritual meaning of the law of God now 
begins to glare upon him. He perceives " the commandment 
is exceeding broad," and there is "nothing hid from the light 
thereof.'' He is convinced, that every part of it relates, not 
barely to outward sin or obedience, but to what passes in the 
secret recesses of the soul, which no eye but God's can pene- 
trate. If he now hears, " Thou shalt not kill," God speaks in 
thunder, " He that hateth his brother is a murderer ; " " He 
that saith unto his brother, Thou fool, is obnoxious to hell-fire." 
If the law say, " Thou shalt not commit adultery," the voice 
of the Lord sounds in his ears, " He that looketh on a woman 
to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in 
his heart." And thus, in every point, he feels the word of 
God "quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edge dsword." 
It "pierces even to the dividing asunder of his soul and 
spirit, his joints and marrow." And so much the more, 
because he is conscious to himself of having neglected so 
great salvation ; of having " trodden under foot the Son of 
God," who would have saved him from his sins, and " counted 
the blood of the covenant an unholy," a common, unsanctify- 
ing "thing." 

3. And as he knows, " all things are naked and open unto 
the eyes of Him with whom we have to do," so he sees him- 
self naked, stripped of all the fig-leaves which he had sewed 
together, of all his poor pretences to religion or virtue, and 
his wretched excuses for sinning against God. He now sees 
himself like the ancient sacrifices, TErpa^nXia^Evov, cleft in 
sunder, as it were, from the neck downward, so that all 
within him stands confessed. His heart is bare, and he sees 
it is all sin, ".deceitful above all things, desperately wicked;" 
that it is altogether corrupt and abominable, more than it is 
possible for tongue to express ; that there dwelleth therein 
no good thing, but unrighteousness and ungodliness only ; 
every motion thereof, every temper and thought, being only 
evil continually. 


4. And he not only sees, but feels in himself, by an emotion 
of soul which he cannot describe, that for the sins of his heart, 
were his life without blame, (which yet it is not, and cannot 
be ; seeing " an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit,") he 
deserves to be cast into the fire that never shall be quenched. 
He feels that "the wages," the just reward, " of sin," of his 
sin above all, " is death ; " even the second death ; the death 
which dieth not ; the destruction of body and soul in hell. 

5. Here ends hispleasing dream, his delusive rest, his false 
peace, his vain security. His joy now vanishes as a cloud ; 
pleasures, once loved, delight no more. They pall upon the 
taste : he loathes the nauseous sweet ; he is weary to bear 
them. The shadows of happiness flee away, and sink into 
oblivion : so that he is stripped of all, and wanders to and 
fro, seeking rest, but finding none. 

6. The fumes of those opiates being now dispelled, he feels 
the anguish of a wounded spirit. He finds that sin let loose 
upon the soul (whether it be pride, anger, or evil desire, 
whether self-will, malice, envy, revenge, or any other) is 
perfect misery : he feels sorrow of heart for the blessings he 
has lost, and the curse which is come upon him ; remorse for 
having thus destroyed himself, and despised his own mercies ; 
fear, from a lively sense of the wrath of God, and of the con- 
sequences of His wrath , of the punishment which he has justly 
deserved, and which he sees hanging over his head; — fear of 
death, as being to him the gate of hell, the entrance of death 
eternal ; — fear of the devil, the executioner of the wrath and 
righteous vengeance of God ; — fear of men, who, if they were 
able to kill his body, would thereby plunge both body and soul 
into hell ; — fear, sometimes arising to such a height, that the 
poor, sinful, guilty soul is terrified with everything, with 
nothing, with shades, with a leaf shaken of the wind. Yea, 
sometimes it may even border upon distraction, making a 
man " drunken though not with wine," suspending the 
exercise of the memory, of the understanding, of all the 
natural faculties. Sometimes it may approach to the very 
brink of despair ; so that he who trembles at the name of 
death, may yet be ready to plunge into it every moment, to 


" choose strangling rather than life." Well may such a man 
roar, like him of old, for the very disquietness of his heart, 
Well may he cry out, " The spirit of a man may sustain his 
infirmities ; but a wounded spirit who can bear ? " 

7. Now he truly desires to break loose from sin, and begins 
to struggle with it. But though he strive with all his might, 
he cannot conquer : sin is mightier than he. He would fain 
escape ; but be is so fast in prison, that he cannot get forth. 
He resolves against sin, but yet sins on : he sees the snare, 
and abhors and runs into it. So much does his boasted 
reason avail, — only to enhance his guilt, and increase his 
misery ! Such is the freedom of his will ; free only to evil ; 
free to " drink in iniquity like water ; " to wander farther and 
farther from the living God, and do more " despite to the 
Spirit of grace." 

8. The more he strives, wishes, labours to be free, the more 
does he feel bis chains, the grievous chains of sin, -wherewith 
Satan binds and " leads him captive at his will ; " his servani 
he is, though he repine ever so much ; though he rebel, hf 
cannot prevail. He is still in bondage and fear, by reason 0: 
sin : generally, of some outward sin, to which he is peculiarly 
disposed, either by nature, custom, or outward circumstances 
but always, of some inward sin, some evil temper or unhol; 
affection. And the more he frets against it the more i 
prevails ; he may bite, but cannot break his chain. Thus h 
toils without end, repenting and sinning, and repenting an 
sinning again, till at length the poor, sinful, helpless wretc' 
is even at his wit's end, and can barely groan, " O wretche 
man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of thi 
death ? " 

9. This whole struggle of one who is " under the law. 
under the " spirit of fear and bondage," is beautifully d< 
scribed by the Apostle in the foregoing chapter, speaking i 
the person of an awakened man. " I," sa ith he, " was alrv 
without the law once : " (verse 9 :) I had much life, wi 
dom, strength, and virtue ; so I thought : " but when tl 
commandment came, sin revived, and I died : " when tl 
commandment, in its spiritual meaning, came to my hear 


with the power of God, my inbred sin was stirred up, fretted, 
inflamed, and all my virtue died away. " And the command- 
ment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, 
and by it slew me : " (verses 10, 11 :) it came upon me un- 
awares ; slew all my hopes ; and plainly showed, in the midst 
of life I was in death. " Wherefore the law is holy, and the 
commandment holy, and just, and good : " (verse 12 :) I no 
longer lay the blame on this, but on the corruption of my own 
heart. I acknowledge that " the law is spiritual ; but I am 
carnal, sold under sin : " (verse 14 :) I now see both the 
spiritual nature of the law ; and my own carnal, devilish 
heart " sold under sin," totally enslaved : (like slaves bought 
with money, who were absolutely at their master's disposal :) 
" for that which I do, I allow not ; for what I would, I do 
not; but what I hate, that I do : " (verse 15 :) such is the 
bondage under which I groan ; such the tyranny of my hard 
master. " To will is present with me ; but how to perform 
that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, 
I do not ; but the evil which I would not, that I do : " (verses 
18, 19 :) " I find a law," an inward constraining power, " that, 
■when 1 would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight 
in," or consent to, " the law of God, after the inward man : " 
(verses 21, 22 :) in my " mind : " (so the Apostle explains 
himself in the words that immediately follow ; and so 6 to-w 
&vdp<i>irue, tin 1 inward man, is understood in all other Greek 
writers :) " but I see another law in my members," another 
constraining power, " warring against the law of my mind," or 
inward man, " and bringing me into captivity to the law " or 
power " of sin : " (verse 23 :) dragging me, as it were, at my 
conqueror's chariot wheels, into the very thing which my soul 
abhors. " wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death ? " (verse 24.) Who shall deliver 
me from this helpless, dying life, from this bondage of sin and 
misery ? Till this is done, " I myself " (or rather, that I 
abroQ eyw. that man I am now personating) " with the mind," 
or inward man, " serve the law of God ; " my mind, my con- 
Science is on God's side : " but with my flesh," with my body 


" the L>w of sin," (verse 25,) being hurried away by a iorce 
I cannot resist. 

j o. How lively a portraiture is this of one " under- the 
law ! " one who feels the burden he cannot shake off ^ who 
pants after liberty, power, and love, but is in fear and bondage 
still ! until the time that God answers the wretched man, 
crying out, "Who shall deliver me" from this bondage of 
sin, from this body of death ? — " The grace of God through 
Jesus Christ thy Lord." 

III. i. Then it is that this miserable bondage ends, and 
he is no more " under the law, but under grace;" This state 
we are, thirdly, to consider ; the state of one who has found 
grace or favour in the sight of God, even the Father, and who 
has the grace or power of the Holy Ghost reigning in his 
heart ; who has received, in the language of the Apostle, 
the "Spirit of adoption, whereby" he now cries, "Abba, 

2. " He cried unto the Lord in his trouble, and God 
delivers him out of his distress." His eyes are opened in 
quite another manner than before, even to see a loving, 
gracious God. While he is calling, " I beseech Thee, show 
me Thy glory ! " — he hears a voice in his inmost soul, " I will 
make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim 
the name of the Lord : I will be gracious to whom I will-be 
gracious, and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.' 
And it is not long before " the Lord descends in the cloud 
and proclaims the name of the Lord." Then he sees, bd 
not with eyes of flesh and blood, " The Lord, the Lord God 
merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in good 
ness and truth ; keeping mercy for thousands, and forgiving 
iniquities, and transgressions, and sin." 

3. Heavenly, healing light now breaks in upon his soul 
He " looks on Him whom he had pierced ; " and " God wh< 
out of darkness commanded light to shine, shineth in hii 
heart." He sees the light of the glorious love of God in the 
face of Jesus Christ. He hath a divine " evidence of things 
not seen" by sense,- even of " the deep tilings of Gorl ; " more 


jarticukrly of the love of God, of His pardoning love to 
lim that believes in Jesus. Overpowered with the sight, his 
Whole soul cries out, " My Lord, and my God ! " For he 
iees all his iniquities laid on Him who " bare them in His 
own body on the tree : " he beholds the Lamb of God taking 
away his sins. How clearly now does he discern, that " God 
was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself ; making 
Him sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made 
the righteousness of God through Him; " — and that he him- 
self is reconciled to God, by that blood of the covenant ! 

4. Here end both the guilt and power of sin. He can 
now say, " I am crucified with Christ ; nevertheless I live ; 
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now 
live in the flesh," (even in this mortal body,) " I live by 
faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself 
for me." Here end remorse, and sorrow of heart, and the 
anguish of a wounded spirit. " God turneth his heaviness 
into joy." He made sore, and now His hands bind up. 
Here ends also that bondage unto fear; for "his heart 
standeth fast, believing in the Lord." He cannot fear any 
longer the wrath of God; for he knows it is now turned 
away from him, and looks upon Him no more as an angry 
Judge, but as a loving Father. He cannot fear the devil, 
knowing he has "no power, except it be given him from 
above." He fears not hell ; being an heir of the kingdom of 
heaven: consequently, he has no fear of death; by reason 
whereof he was in time past, for so many years, " subject to 
bondage." Rather, knowing that " if the earthly house of 
this tabernacle be dissolved, he hath a building of God, a 
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ; he 
groaneth earnestly, desiring to be clothed upon with that 
house which is from heaven." He groans to shake off this 
house of earth, that " mortality " may be " swallowed up of 
life;" knowing that God " hath wrought him for the selfsame 
thing ; who hath also given him the earnest of His Spirit." 

5. And " where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty ; ' 
liberty, not only from guilt and fear, but from sin, from that 
heaviest of all yokes, that basest of all bondage. His labour 


is not tiow in vain. The snare is broken, and he is delivered* 
He not only strives, but likewise prevails ; he not only fights, 
but conquers also. "Henceforth he does not serve sin." 
(Chap. vi. 6, &c.) He is " dead unto sin, and, alive unto 
God ; " " sin doth not now reign," even " in his mortal body/' 
nor doth he " obey it in the desires thereof." He does not 
" yield his members as instruments of unrighteousness unto 
sin, but as instruments of righteousness unto God." For 
" being now made free from sin, he is become the servant of 

6. Thus " having peace with God through our Lord Jesus 
Christ," " rejoicing in hope of the glory of God," and having 
power over all sin, over every evil desire, and temper, and 
word, and work, he is a living witness of the " glorioui 
liberty of the sons of God ; " all of whom, being partaken 
of like precious faith, bear record with one voice, " We hav< 
received the Spirit of adoption, whereby We cry, Abba 
Father ! " 

7. It is this Spirit which continually " worketh in them 
both to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is He tha 
sheds the love of God abroad in their hearts, and the love 
all mankind ; thereby purifying their hearts from the love 
the world, from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, am 
the pride of life. It is by Him they are delivered from ange 
and pride, from all vile and inordinate affections. In con 
sequence, they are delivered from evil words and works, froi 
all unholiness of conversation ; doing no evil to any child c 
man, and being zealous of all good works. 

8. To sum up all : the natural man neither fears nor love 
God, one under the law, fears, — one under grace, loves Hin 
The first has no light in the things of God, but walks i 
utter darkness ; the second sees the painful light of hell 
the third, the joyous light of heaven. He that sleeps i 
death, has a false peace ; he that is awakened, has no peace £ 
all ; he that believes, has true peace, — the peace of God fillin 
and ruling his heart. The Heathen, baptized or unbaptizei 
hath a fancied liberty, which is indeed licentiousness • tl 
Jew, or one under the Jewish dispensation, is in heav 1 


grievous bondage ; the Christian enjoys the true glorious 
liberty of the sons of God. An unawakened child of the devil 
sins willingly ; one that is awakened sins unwillingly ; a 
child of God " sinneth not," but " keepeth himself, and the 
wicked one toucheth him not." To conclude : the natural 
man neither conquers nor fights ; the man under the law 
fights with sin, but cannot conquer; the man under grace 
fights and conquers, yea, is " more than conqueror through 
Him that loveth him." 

IV r. JFrom this plain account of the threefold state of 
man, the natural, the legal, and the evangelical, it appears 
that it is not sufficient to divide mankind into sincere and 
insincere. A man may be sincere in any of these states ; not 
only when he has the " Spirit of adoption," but while he has 
the " spirit of bondage unto fear ; " yea, while he has neither 
this fear, nor love. For undoubtedly there may be sincere 
Heathens, as well as sincere Jews or Christians. This 
circumstance, then, does by no means prove that a man is 
in a state of acceptance with God. 

" Examine yourselves, therefore," not only whether ye are 
sincere, but " whether ye be in the faith." Examine narrowly, 
(for it imports you much,) what is the ruling principle in 
your soul ? Is it the love of God ? Is it the fear of God ? 
Or is it neither one nor the other ? Is it not rather the love 
of the world ? the love of pleasure, or gain ? of ease, or 
reputation ? If so, you are not come so far as a Jew. You 
are but a Heathen still. Have you heaven in your heart ? 
Have you the Spirit of adoption, ever crying, Abba, Father? 
Or do you cry unto God, as "out of the belly of hell," 
overwhelmed with sorrow and fear ? Or are you a stranger 
to this whole affair, and cannot imagine what I mean ? 
Heathen, pull off the mask ! Thou hast never put on Christ ! 
Stand barefaced ! Look up to heaven ; and own before Him 
that liveth for ever and ever, thou hast no part either among 
the sons or servants of God ! 

Whosoever thou art, Dost thou commit sin, or dost thou 
not ? If thou dost, is it willingly or unwillingly ? In either 



case, Crod hath told thee whose thou art : " He that com- 
mitteth sin is of the devil." If thou committest it willingly, 
that art his faithful servant : he will not fail to reward. thy 
labour. If unwillingly, still thou art his servant. God 
deliver thee out of his hands ! 

Art thou daily fighting against all sin ? and daily more 
than conqueror ? I acknowledge thee for a child of God. 
O stand fast in thy glorious liberty ! Art thou fighting, but 
not conquering? striving for the mastery, but not able to 
attain? Then thou art not yet a believer in Christ; but 
follow on, and thou shalt know the Lord. Art thou not 
fighting at all, but leading an easy, indolent, fashionable life? 
O how hast thou dared to name the name of Christ, only 
to make it a reproach among the Heathen ? Awake, thou 
sleeper ! Call upon thy God, before the deep swallow thee 
up! ,.__ 

i. Perhaps one reason why so many think of themselves 
more highly than they ought to think, why they do not 
discern what state they are in, is, because these several states 
of soul are often mingled together, and in some measure meet 
in one and the same person. Thus experience shows, that 
the legal state, or state of fear, is frequently mixed with the 
natural ; for few men are so fast asleep in sin, but they are 
sometimes more or less awakened. As the Spirit of God 
does not " wait for the call of man," so, at some times he 
will be heard. He puts them in fear, so that, for a season 
at least, the Heathen " know themselves to be but men." 
They feel the burden of sin, and earnestly desire. to flee from 
the wrath to come. But not long : they seldom suffer the 
arrows of conviction to go deep into their souls ; but quickly 
stifle the grace of God, and return to their wallowing hi 
the mire. 

In like manner, the evangelical state, or state of love, is 
frequently mixed with the legal. For few of those who have 
the spirit of bondage and fear remain always without hope. 
The wise and gracious God rarely suffers this • " for He 
remembereth that we are but dust ; " and He willeth not that 
" the flesh should fail before Him, or the spirit which He hath 


Bifide." Therefore at such times as He seeth good, He gives 
a dawning of light unto them that sit in darkness. He 
causes a part of His goodness to pass before them, and shows 
He is a "God that heareth the prayer." They see the 
promise, which is by faith in Christ Jesus, though it be yet 
afar off; and hereby they are encouraged to "run with 
patience the race which is set before them." 

3. Another reason why many deceive themselves, is, 
because they do not consider how far a man may go, and yet 
be in a natural, or, at best, a legal state. A man may be of 
a compassionate and a benevolent temper ; he may be affable, 
courteous, generous, friendly ; he may have some degree of 
meekness, patience, temperance, and of many other moral 
virtues. He may feel many desires of shaking off all vice, 
and of attaining higher degrees of virtue. He may abstain 
from much evil ; perhaps from all that is grossly contrary to 
justice, mercy, or truth. He may do much good, may feed 
the hungry, clothe the naked, relieve the widow and father- 
less. He may attend public worship, use prayer in private, 
read many books of devotion ; and yet, for all this, he may 
be a mere natural man, knowing neither himself nor God ; 
equally a stranger to the spirit of fear and to that of love ; 
having neither repented, nor believed the Gospel. 

But suppose there were added to all this a deep conviction 
of sin, with much fear of the wrath of God ; vehement desires 
to cast off every sin, and to fulfil all righteousness ; frequent 
rejoicing in hope, and touches of love often glancing upon 
the soul ; yet neither dp these prove a man to be under grace, 
to have true, living, Christian faith, unless the Spirit of 
adoption abide in his heart, unless he can continually cry, 
"Abba, Father!" 

4. Beware, then, thou who art called by the name of 
Christ, that thou come not short of the mark of thy high 
calling. Beware thou rest not, either in a natural state, with 
too many that are accounted good Christians ; or in a legal 
Btate, wherein those who are highly esteemed of men are 
generally content to live and die. Nay, but God hath pre- 
pared better things for thee, if thou follow on till thou attain. 

j 2 


Thou art not called to fear and tremble, like devils ; but to 
rejoice and love, like tbe angels of God. " Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 
and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." Thou 
shalt "rejoice evermore;" thou shalt "pray without ceas- 
ing; " thou shalt "in everything give thanks." Thou shalt 
do the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven. O prove 
thou " what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of 
God!" Now present thyself " a living sacrifice, holy, ac- 
ceptable to God ! " " Whereunto thou hast already attained, 
hold fast," by " reaching forth unto those things which are 
before ; " until " the God of peace make tbee perfect in every 
good work, working in thee that which is well-pleasing in His 
sight, through Jesus Christ : to whom be glory for ever and 
ever ! Amen ! " 

What three states does Wesley describe in this sermon ? and how does he 
distinguish each from the others in the experience of individuals ? 
See Sec. 5. 

How does Wesley describe the perversion of the truth that " God is 
merciful " ? 

As the " confounding and swallowing up all at once in that unwieldy 
idea of mercy all His holiness and essential hatred of sin ; all His 
justice, wisdom and truth," etc.— Sec I. 2. 

How does he describe the ignorance of "men of learning" 1 

"But this ignorance never so strongly glares, as in those who are 
termed men of learning," etc. — Sec I. 4. 

How does he describe the awakening of a soul ? 

"The inward, spiritual meaning of the law of God now begins to 
glare upon him," etc.— Sec II. 2. 

Wha l«* e eXPerienCe ° f an aWakCned Sinner as t0 ******* of Ms 

" The more he strives," etc.— Sec II. 8. 
How does he describe the advent of the Spirit of adoption? 

"Heavenly, healing light now breaks in upon his soul," etc.- 


What concluding classification does he give of the three states of soul ! 
" The natural man neither conquers, nor fights," etc. — SEC. III. 8 
last sentence. 

What two kinds of " Heathen " does he mention ? 

"The Heathen, baptized or uiibaptized." — Sec. III. 8. 
By what names does he still further characterize the three states of 


" The natural, the legal, and the evangelical." — Sec. IV. 1. 

Under what name does he appeal to unconverted Christians ? 

" Heathen, pull off the mask 1 Thou hast never put on Christ," etc. 
Sec. IV. 1. 

May the three states, in any degree, co-exist in the same person 1 

" These several states of soul are often mingled together," etc. — 
Sec. IV. 2. 



" The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit; that we are the 
children of God." — Romans viii. 16. 

HOW many vain men, not understanding what they 
spake, neither whereof they affirmed, have wrested 
this scripture to the great loss, if not the destruction, of 
their souls ! How many have mistaken the voice of their 
own imagination for the witness of the Spirit of God, and 
thence idly presumed they were the children of God, while 
they were doing the works of the devil ! These are truly and 
properly enthusiasts ; and, indeed, in the worst sense of the 
word. But with what difficulty are they convinced thereof, 
especially if they have drank deep into that spirit of error. 
All endeavours to bring them to the knowledge of them- 
selves, they will then account fighting against God; and that 
vehemence and impetuosity of spirit, which they call " con- 
tending earnestly for the faith," sets them so far above all 
the usual methods of conviction, that we may well say, 
" With men it is impossible." 

2. Who then can be surprised, if many reasonable men, 
seeing the dreadful effects of this delusion, and labouring to 
keep at the utmost distance from it, should sometimes lean 
toward another extreme ? — if they are not forward to believe 
any who speak of having this witness, concerning which 
others have so grievously erred ? — if they are almost ready 
to set all down for enthusiasts who use the expressions which 
have been so terribly abused ? — yea, if they should question 
whether the witness or testimony here spoken of be the 
privilege of ordinary Christians, and not, rather, one of those 


extraordinary gifts which they suppose belonged only to the 
apostolic age ? 

3. But is there any necessity laid npon us of running 
either into one extreme or the other ? May we not steer a 
middle course, — keep a sufficient distance from that spirit of 
error and enthusiasm, without denying the gift of God, and 
giving up the great privilege of His children ? Surely we 
may. In order thereto, let us consider, in the presence and 
fear of God — 

I. What is this witness oe testimony of our spirit 


I. i. Let us first consider, what is the witness or testimony 
of our spirit. But here I cannot but desire all those who are 
for swallowing up the testimony of the Spirit of God in the 
rational testimony of our own spirit, to observe, that in this 
text the Apostle is so far from speaking of the testimony of 
our own spirit only, that it maybe questioned whether he speaks 
of it at all, — whether he does not speak only of the testimony 
of God's Spirit ? It does not appear but the original text may 
be faily understood thus. The Apostle had just said, in the 
preceding verse, " Te have received the Spirit of adoption, 
whereby we cry, Abba, Father ; " and immediately subjoins, 
Auro to Tlveifia (some copies read, to avro Hvevfia) ovfifiapTvpei 
ru rvevfiari r\pmv ort eafitv re/cva Qeov ; which may be trans- 
lated, " The same Spirit beareth witness to our spirit, that we 
are the children of God." (The preposition avv only denot- 
ing, that He witnesses this at the same time that He enables 
as to cry, Abba, Father.) But I contend not ; seeing so 
many other texts, with the experience of all real Christians, 
Wfficiently evince, that there is in every believer, both the 


testimony of God's Spirit, and the testimony of his own, that 
he is a child of God. 

2. "With regard to the latter, the foundation thereof is laid 
in those numerous texts of Scripture which describe the marks 
of the children of God ; and that so plain, that he which run- 
neth may read them. These are also collected together, and 
placed in the strongest light, by many both ancient and 
modern writers. If any need farther light, he may receive it 
by attending on the ministry of God's word ; by meditating 
thereon before God in secret ; and by conversing with those 
who have the knowledge of His ways. And by the reason or 
understanding that God has given him, which religion was 
designed not to extinguish, but to perfect ; — according to that 
of the Apostle, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: 
in malice " or wickedness " be ye children ; but in under- 
standing be ye men ; " (1 Cor. xiv. 20 ;) — every man applying 
those scriptural marks to himself, may know whether he is a 
child of God. Thus, if he know, first, " as many as are led 
by the Spirit of God," into all holy tempers and actions, "they 
are the sons of God ; " (for which he has the infallible assur- 
ance of holy writ ;) secondly, I am thus " led by the Spirit 
of God ; " he will easily conclude, — " Therefore I am a son 
of God." 

3. Agreeable to this are all those plain declarations of St. 
John, in his First Epistle : " Hereby we do know that we 
know Him, if we keep His commandments." (Chap. ii. 3.) 
"Whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God 
perfected : hereby know we that we are in Him ; " that we are 
indeed the children of God. (Verse 5.) " If ye know that 
He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteous- 
ness is born of Him." (Verse 29.) « We know that we have 
passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." 
(Chap. iii. 14.) " Hereby we know that we are of the truth, 
and shall assure our hearts before Him ; " (verse 19 ;) namely, 
because we " love one another, not in word, neither in tongue 
but in deed and in truth." " Hereby know we that we dwell 
in Him, because He hath given us of His " loving " Spirit " 
(Chap. iv. 13.) And, " Hereby we know that He abideth in 


ns, by the " obedient " Spirit which He bath given us." 
(Chap. iii. 24) 

4. It is highly probable there never were any children of 
God, from the beginning of the world unto this day, who 
were farther advanced in the grace of God, and the know- 
ledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, than the Apostle John, at the 
time when he wrote these words, and the fathers in Christ to 
whom he wrote. Notwithstanding which, it is evident, both 
the Apostle himself, and all those pillars in God's temple, were 
very far from despising these marks of their being the children 
of God ; and that they applied them to their own souls for the 
confirmation of their faith. Yet all this is no other than 
rational evidence, the witness of our spirit, our reason or 
understanding. It all resolves into this : Those who have 
these marks are children of God : but we have these marks : 
therefore we are children of God. 

5. But how does it appear, that we have these marks ? 
This is a question which still remains. How does it appear, 
that we do love God and our neighbour, and that we keep His 
commandments ? Observe, that the meaning of the question 
is, How does it appear to ourselves, not to others ? I would ask 
him, then, that proposes this question, How does it appear to 
you, that you are alive, and that you are now in ease, and not 
in pain ? Are you not immediately conscious of it ? By tho 
same immediate consciousness, you will know if your soul is 
alive to God ; if you are saved from the pain of proud wrath, 
and have the ease of a meek and quiet spirit. By the same 
means you cannot but perceive if you love, rejoice, and 
delight in God. By the same you must be directly assured 
if you love your neighbour as yourself ; if you are kindly 
affectioned to all mankind, and full of gentleness and long- 
suffering. And with regard to the outward mark of tho 
children of God, which is, according to St. John, the keeping 
His commandments, you undoubtedly know in your own 
breast, if, by the grace of God, it belongs to you. Your 
conscience informs you from day to day, if you do not take 
the name of God within your lips, unless with seriousness 
and devotion, with reverence and godly fear ; if you remem- 


ber the Sabbath-day to keep it holy; if you honour yom)| 
father and mother : if yon do to all as yon would they shouU 
do unto you; if you possess yonr body in sanctifieation and 
honour ; and if, whether you eat or drink, you are tempefaSi 
therein, and do all to the glory of God. 

6. Now this is properly the testimony of our own spirit ; 
even the testimony of our own conscience, that God hath 
given us to be holy of heart, and holy in outward conversation-; 
It is a consciousness of our having received, in and by the 
Spirit of adoption, the tempers mentioned in the word of God; 
as belonging to His adopted children ; even a loving heart 
toward God, and toward all mankind; hanging with ohild-liy 
confidence on God our Father, desiring nothing but Him, ca&fc 
ing all our care upon Him, and embracing every child of mai 
with earnest, tender affection : — a consciousness, that we art 
inwardly conformed, by the Spirit of God, to the image of Wk 
Son, and that we walk before Him in justice, mercy, and truth 
doing the things which are pleasing in His sight; v, » : : ' 

7. But what is that testimony of God's Spirit, which if 
superadded to, and conjoined with, this ? How does H< 
" bear witness with our spirit that we are the childreM 0: 
God ? " It is hard to find words in the language of men -t< 
explain " the deep things of God." Indeed, there are noni 
that will adequately express what the children of God experi 

' ence. r< But perhaps one might say, (desiring any who an 
taught of God to correct, to soften, or strengthen the' ex- 
pression,) the testimony of the Spirit is an inward impressSOTT 
on the soul, whereby the Spirit of God directly witnesses^ 
my spirit; that I am a child of God; that Jesus Christ hath 
loved me, and given Himself for me ; and that all my sins arK 
blotted out, and I, even I, am reconciled to God. 
o'. 8. That this testimony of the Spirit of God must needs, 
in the very nature of things, be antecedent to the testimony 
of our own spirit, may appear from this single consideration 
We must be holy of heart, and holy in life, before we can be 
conscious that we are so ; before we can have the testimony r o# 
our spirit, that we are inwardly and outwardly holy. But 
we must love God, before we can be holy at all ; this being the 


toot of all holiness. Now we cannot love God, till we know 

Ho loves us. "We love Him, because He first, loved us/'. 

And we cannot know His pardoning love to us, till His Spirit 
•britnesses it to our spirit. Since, therefore, this testimony of 

His Spirit must precede the love of God and all holiness, of 
•consequence it must precede our inward consciousness thereof, 
f or the testimony of our spirit concerning them. 

9. Then, and not till then, — when the Spirit of God 
beareth that witness to our spirit, " God hath loved thee, and 
given His own Son to be the propitiation for thy sins ; the Son 
of God hath loved thee, and hath washed thee from thy sins 
inHis Wood," — "we love God, because He first loved us ; " and, 
for His sake, we love our brother also. And of this we cannot 
but be conscious to ourselves : we " know the things that are 
freely given to us of God." We know that we love God, and 
keep His commandments ; and " hereby also we know that we 
are of God." This is that testimony of our own spirit, which, 
so long as we continue to love God and keep His command- 
ments, continues joined with the testimony of God's Spirit, 
" that we are the children of God." 

10. Not that I would by any means be understood, by any 
thing which has been spoken concerning it, to exclude the 
operation of the Spirit of God, even from the testimony of 
our own spirit. In no wise. It is He that not only worketh 
in us every manner of thing that is good, but also shines upon 
His own work, and clearly shows what He has wrought. Ac- 
cordingly, this is spoken of by St. Paul, as one great end of 
our receiving the Spirit, "that we may know the things which 
are freely given to us of God : " that He may strengthen the 
testimony of our conscience, touching our " simplicity and 
godly sincerity ; "" efcid give us to discern, in a fuller and 
stronger light, that we now do the things which please Him. 

11. Should it still be inquired, " How does the Spirit of 
God ' bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of 
God,' so as to exclude all doubt, and evince the reality of our 
sonship ? " — the answer is clear from what has been observed 
above. And first, as to the witness of our spirit : the soul as 
intimately and evidently perceives when it loves, delights, 


and rejoices in God, as when it loves and delights in any- 
thing on earth. And it can no more doubt, whether it loves, 
delights, and rejoices or no, than whether it exists or no. 
If, therefore, this be just reasoning, 

He that now loves God, that delights and rejoices in Hint- 
with an humble joy, and holy delight, and an obedient love, 
is a child of God : 

But I thus love, delight, and rejoice in God ; 

Therefore, I am a child of God : — 
Then a Christian can in no wise doubt of his being a child of 
God. Of the former proposition he has as full an assurance . 
as he has that the Scriptures are of God ; and of his thus 
loving God, he has an inward proof, which is nothing short 
of self -evidence. Thus, the testimony of our own spirit is 
with the most intimate conviction manifested to our hearts,!: 
in such a manner, as beyond all reasonable doubt to evince 
the reality of our sonship. 

12. The manner how the divine testimony is manifested, 
to the heart, I do not take upon me to explain. Such know- 
ledge is too wonderful and excellent for me : I cannot attain 
unto it. The wind bloweth, and I hear the sound thereof ; 
but I cannot tell how it cometh, or whither it goeth. As no 
one knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man 
that is in him ; so the manner of the things of God knoweth 
no one, save the Spirit of God. But the fact we know; 
namely, that the Spirit of God does give a believer such a 
testimony of his adoption, that while it is present to the 
soul, he can no more doubt the reality of his sonship, than 
he can doubt of the shining of the sun, while he stands in 
the full blaze of his beams. 

II. i. How this joint testimony of God's Spirit and our 
spirit may be clearly and solidly distinguished from the pre- 
sumption of a natural mind, and from the delusion of the 
devil, is the next thing to be considered. And it highly im^ 
ports all who. desire the salvation of God, to consider it with 
the deepest attention, as they would not deceive their own 
souls. An error in this is generally observed to have thi 


most fatal consequences : the rather, because he that errs, 
seldom discovers his mistake, till it is too late to remedy it. 

2. And, first, how is this testimony to be distinguished 
from the presumption of a natural mind ? It is certain, one 
who was never convinced of sin is always ready to flatter 
himself, and to think of himself, especially in spiritual things, 
more highly than he ought to think. And hence, it is in no 
wise strange, if one who is vainly puffed up by his fleshly 
mind, when he hears of this privilege of true Christians 
among whom he undoubtedly ranks himself, should soon 
work himself up into a persuasion that he is already posses- 
sed thereof. Such instances now abound in the world, and 
have abounded in all ages. How then may the real testi- 
mony of the Spirit with our spirit be distinguished from 
this damning presumption ? 

3. I answer, the holy Scriptures abound with marks, 
whereby the one may be distinguished from the other. They 
describe, in the plainest manner, the circumstances which go 
before, which accompany, and which follow, the true, genuine 
testimony of the Spirit of God with the spirit of a believer. 
Whoever carefully weighs and attends to these will not need 
to put darkness for light. He will perceive so wide a differ- 
ence, with respect to all these, between the real and the 
pretended witness of the Spirit, that there will be no danger, 
I might say, no possibility, of confounding the one with the 

4. By these, one who vainly presumes on the gift of God 
might surely know, if he really desired it, that he hath been 
hitherto " given up to a strong delusion," and suffered to be- 
lieve a lie. For the Scriptures lay down those clear, obvious 
marks, as preceding, accompanying, and following that gift, 
which a little reflection would convince him, beyond all doubt, 
were never found in his soul. For instance : the Scripture 
describes repentance, or conviction of sin, as constantly go- 
ing before this witness of pardon. So, " Repent ; for the 
.kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. iii. 2.) " Repent 
ye, and believe the Gospel." (Mark i. 15.) " Repent, and 

» baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins." 


(Acts ii. 38.) " Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that 
your sins may be blotted out." (Acts iii. 19.) In con- 
formity whereto, our Church also, continually places '.repent- 
ance before pardon, or the witness of it. " He pardoneth 
and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeign'effir 
believe His holy Gospel." " Almighty God — hath promised 
forgiveness of sins to all them who, with hearty repentance 
and true faith, turn unto Him." But he is a stranger even 
to this repentance : he hath never known a broken and a 
contrite heart : "the remembrance of his sins " was never 
" grievons unto him," nor " the burden of them intolerable." 
In repeating those words, he never meant what he said; 
he merely paid a compliment to God. And were it only 
from the want of this previous work of God, he hath too 
great reason to believe that he hath grasped a mere shaS6w: 
and never yet known the real privilege of the sons of .God. 

5. Again: the Scriptures describe the being born of God, 
which must precede the witness that we are His children^as 
a vast and mighty change ; a change " from darkness to 
light," as well as "from the power of. Satan unto God;" as 
a "passing from death unto life,'" a resurrection from the 
dead. Thus the Apostle to the Ephesians : " Toil hath He 
quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.", .(ii;.?;) 
And again, " "When we were dead in sins, He hath quickened 
us together with Christ ; and hath raised us up together, 
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. 
(Verses 5, 6.) But what knoweth he, concerning whoid "we 
now speak, of any such change as this ? He is altogether 
unacquainted with this whole matter.. This is a language 
which he does not understand. He tells ypu he always was 
a Christian. He knows no time when he had need of siich 
a change. By this also, if he give himself leave to think, 
may he know, that he is not born of the Spirit ; that he has 
never yet known God; but has mistaken the voice of nature 
for the voice of God. 

6. But waving the consideration of whatever he has or 
has not experienced in time past ; by the present marks maj 
we easily distinguish a child of God from a presumptuous 


self-deceiver. The Scriptures describe that joy in the Lord 
which accompanies the witness of His Spirit, as an humble joy; 
a joy that abases to the dust, that makes a pardoned sinner 
cry out, " I am vile ! What am I, or my father's house ! 
Now mine eye seeth Thee, I abhor myself in dust and ashes ! " 
And wherever lowliness is, there is meekness, patience, gen- 
tleness, long-suffering. There is a soft, yielding spirit ; a 
mildness 'and sweetness, a tenderness of soul, which words 
cannot express. But do these fruits attend that supposed 
'testimony of the Spirit in a presumptuous man ? Just the 
reverse. The more confident he is of the favour of God, the 
more is he lifted up ; the more does he exalt himself; the 
more haughty and assuming is his whole behaviour. The 
stronger witness he imagines himself to have, the more over- 
bearing is he to all around him ; the more incapable of 
receiving any reproof ; the more impatient of contradiction. 
Instead of being more meek, and gentle, and teachable, more 
"swift to hear, and slow to speak," he is more slow to hear, 
and swift to speak ; more unready to learn of any one ; more 
fiery and vehement in his temper, and eager in his conversa- 
tion. Tea, perhaps, there will sometimes appear a kind of 
fierceness in his air, his manner of speaking, his whole 
deportment, as if he were just going to take the matter out 
of God's hands, and himself to " devour the adversaries." 

7. Once more : the Scriptures teach, " This is the love of 
God," the sure mark thereof, " that we keep His command- 
ments." (1 John v. 3.) And our Lord Himself saith, " He 
that keepeth My commandments, he it is that loveth Me." 
(John xiv. 21.) Love rejoices to obey ; to do, in every point, 
whatever is acceptable to the beloved. A true lover of God 
hastens to do His will on earth as it is done in heaven. But is 
this the character of the presumptuous pretender to the love 
of God ? Nay, but his love gives him a liberty to disobey, to 
break, not keep, the commandments of God. Perhaps, when 
he was in fear of the wrath of God, he did labour to do His 
will. But now, looking on himself as " not under the law," 
he thinks he is no longer obliged to observe it. He is there- 
fore less zealous of good works ; less careful to abstain from 


evil ; less watchful over his own heart ; less jealous over hi 
tongue. He is less earnest to deny himself, and to take u' 
his cross daily. In a word, the whole form of his life i 
changed, since he has fancied himself to be at liberty. He is 
no longer " exercising himself unto godliness ; " "wrestling 
not only with flesh and blood, but with principalities and 
powers," enduring hardships, " agonizing to enter in at the 
strait gate." Wo ; he has found an easier way to heaven;, a 
broad, smooth, flowery path ; in which he can say to his soul, 
" Soul, take thy ease ; eat, drink, and be merry." It follows, 
with undeniable evidence, that he has not the true testimony 
of his own spirit. He cannot be conscious of having those 
marks which he hath not ; that lowliness, meekness, and 
obedience : nor yet can the Spirit of the God of truth bear 
witness to a lie ; or testify that he is a child of God, when 
he is manifestly a child of the devil. 

8. Discover thyself, thou poor self-deceiver ! — thou who 
art confident of being a child of God ; thou who sayest, 
" I have the witness in myself," and therefore defiest all thy 
enemies. Thou are weighed in the balance and found want- 
ing ; even in the balance of the sanctuary. The word of the 
Lord hath tried thy soul, and proved thee to be reprobate 
silver. Thou art not lowly of heart ; therefore thou hast not 
received the Spirit of Jesus unto this day. Thou art not 
gentle and meek ; therefore thy joy is nothing worth : it is 
not joy in the Lord. Thou dost not keep His commandments^ 
therefore thou lovest Him not, neither art thou partaker of the 
Holy Ghost. It is consequently as certain and as evident, as 
the oracles of God can make it, His Spirit doth not bear wit- 
ness with thy spirit that thou art a child of God. O cry unto 
Him, that the scales may fall off thine eyes ; that thou mayest 
know thyself as thou art known ; that thou mayest receive 
the sentence of death in thyself, till thou hear the voice that 
raises the dead, saying, " Be of good cheer : thy sins are for- 
given ; thy faith hath made thee whole." 

9. " But how may one who has the real witness in himself 
distinguish it from presumption ? " How, I pray, do you dis- 
tinguish day from night ? How do you distinguish light from 


darkness ; or the light of a star, or a glimmering taper, from 
the light of the noonday sun? Is there not an inherent, 
obvious, essential difference between the one and the other ? 
And do you not immediately and directly perceive that dif- 
ference, provided your senses are rightly disposed ? In like 
manner, there is an inherent, essential difference between 
spiritual light and spiritual darkness ; and between the light 
wherewith the Sun of righteousness shines upon our heart, 
and that glimmering light which arises only from " sparks of 
our own kindling:" and this difference also is immediately and 
directly perceived, if our spiritual senses are rightly disposed. 

10. To require a more minute and philosophical account of 
the manner whereby we distinguish these, and of the criteria, 
or intrinsic marks, whereby we know the voice of God, is to 
make a demand which can never be answered ; no, not by one 
who has the deepest knowledge of God. Suppose, when Paul 
answered before Agrippa, the wise Roman had said, " Thou 
talkest of hearing the voice of the Son of God. How dost 
thou know it was His voice ? By what criteria, what intrinsic 
marks, dost thou know the voice of God ? Explain to me the 
manner of distinguishing this from a human or angelic voice." 
Can you believe, the Apostle himself would have once 
attempted to answer so idle a demand ? And yet, doubtless, 
the moment he heard that voice, he knew it was the voice of 
God. But how he knew this, who is able to explain ? Perhaps 
neither man nor angel. 

ii. To come yet closer : suppose God were now to speak 
to any soul, " Thy sins are forgiven thee,'.' — He must be willing 
that soul should know His voice ; otherwise He would speak in 
vain. And He is able to effect this ; for, whenever He wills, to 
do is present with Him. And He does effect it : that soul is ab- 
solutely assured, " This voice is the voice of God." But yet he 
who hath that witness in himself cannot explain it to one who 
hath it not : nor indeed is it to be expected that he should. 
Were there any natural medium to prove, or natural method 
to explain, the things of God to unexperienced men, then the 
natural man might discern and know the things of the Spirit 
of God. But this is utterly contrary to the assertion of the 


Apostle, that "he cannot know them, because they 'are 
spiritually discerned;" even by spiritual senses, Which the 
natural man hath not. 

12. " But how shall I know that my spiritual senses are 
rightly disposed ? " This also is a question of vast import* 
ance ; for if a man mistake in this, he may run on m endless 
error and delusion. " And how am I assured that this is not 
my case ; and that I do not mistake the voice of the Spirit?" 
Even by the testimony of your own spirit : by " the answer of 
a good conscience toward God." By the fruits which He hath 
wrought in your spirit, you shall know the testimony of the 
Spirit of God. Hereby you shall know, that you are in no 
delusion, that you have not deceived your own soul. The 
immediate fruits of the Spirit, ruling in the heart, are " love) 
joy, peace, bowels of mercies, humbleness of mind, meekness; 
gentleness, long-suffering." And the outward fruits are, the 
doing good to all men; the doing no evil to any ;.' and the 
walking in the light,— a zealous, uniform obediencef to all the 
commandments of God. > 

13. By the same fruits shall you distinguish this voice of 
God from any delusion of the devil. That proud spirit cannot 
humble thee before God. He neither can nor would soften 
thy heart, and melt it first into earnest mourning after Godj 
and then into filial love. It is not the adversary of God and 
man that enables thee to love thy neighbour; or to put on 
meekness, gentleness, patience, temperance, and the whole 
armour of God. He is not divided against himself^ -or a 
destroys? of sin, his own work. No; it is none but the Son 
of God*who cometh " to destroy the works of the devil." As 
surely therefore as holiness is of God, and as sin is the work 
of the ■devil, so surely the* witness thou hast in thyself is fnot 
of Satan, but of God. 

14. Well then mayest thou say, "Thanks be unto Gbdf or 
His unspeakable gift ! '* ^Thanks be Unto God, who giVeth me 
to "know in whom I have believed ; n who hath "senfcforth 
th« Spirit of His Son into my heart, crying, Abba, Father,*' 
and even now, "bearing witness with my spirit' that I am a 
child of God !" And see, that not only thy lips, but thy life 


show forth His praise. He hath sealed thee for His own. 
Glorify Him then in thy body and thy spirit, which are His. 
Beloved, if thou hast this hope in thyself, purify thyself, as 
He is pure. While thou beholdest what manner of love the 
Father hath given thee, that thou shouldest be called a child 
of God, cleanse thyself "from all filthiness of flesh and 
spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God;" and let all thy 
thoughts, words, and works be a spiritual sacrifice, holy, 
acceptable to God through Christ Jesus ! 

How does Wesley show the importance of the witness of our own spirit ? 
See Sec I. L 

What w the witness of God's Spirit ? 

" It is hard to find words," etc. — SEC. I. 7. 

How does he prove that the witness of the Spirit must come before the 
witness of our own spirit ? 
See Sec I. 8. 

How may a child of God verify his sonship by reflection on his own 
consciousness ? 
" He that now loves God," etc.— Sec. I. 11. 

How is " the Divine testimony manifested to the heart " ? 
See Sec 1. 12. 

What are the Scriptural tests by which the authenticity of this inward 
testimony may be verified ? 
See Sec I. 3, 4, 5, 6. 

How does Wesley meet the demand for a philosophic explanation of tha 
witness of the Spirit ? 

"To require a more minute and philosophic account," etc — 
Sec 1. 10. 

G 2 



" The Spirit itself beareth tvitness ivith our spirit, that we are the 
children of God." Romans viii. 16. 

II. NONE who believe the Scriptures to be the word of 
. God can doubt that the importance of such a truth as 
this ; — a truth revealed therein, not once only, not obscurely, 
not incidentally ; but frequently, and that in express terms ; 
but solemnly and of set purpose, as denoting one of the 
peculiar privileges of the children of God. 

a. And it is the more necessary to explain and defend this 
truth, because there is a danger on the right hand and on the 
left. If we deny it, there is a danger lest our religion degene- 
rate into mere formality ; lest, having " a form of godliness," 
we neglect, if not " deny, the power of it." If we allow it, 
but do not understand what we allow, we are liable to ran 
into all the wildness of enthusiasm. It is therefore needful, 
in the highest degree, to guard those who fear God from 
both these dangers, by a scriptural and rational illustration 
and confirmation of this momentous truth. 

3. It may seem, something of this kind is the more need- 1 
ful because so little has been wrote on the subject with any 
clearness ; unless some discourses on the wrong side of thf 1 
question, which explain it quite away. And it cannot b« 
doubted, but these were occasioned, at least in a greal 
measure, by the crude, unscriptural, irrational explicatioi 
of others, who "knew not what they spake, nor whereo: 
they affirmed." 

4. It more nearly concerns the Methodists, so called 
clearly to understand, explain, and defend this doctrine ; bei 


cause it is one grand part of the testimony -which God has 
given them to bear to all mankind. It is by His peculiar 
blessing upon them in searching the Scriptures, confirmed 
by the experience of His children, that this great evangelical 
truth has been recovered, which had been for many years 
well nigh lost and forgotten. 

II. i . But what is the witness of the Spirit ? The 
original word, fiaprvpia, may be rendered either (as it is in 
several places) the witness, or less ambiguously, the testimony 
or the record : so it is rendered in our translation, (1 John v. 
11,) " This is the record," the testimony, the sum of what 
God testifies in all the inspired writings, " that God hath 
given unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." The 
testimony now under consideration is given by the Spirit of 
God to and with our spirit: He is the person testifying. 
What He testifies to us is, " that we are the children of God." 
The immediate result of this testimony is, " the fruit of the 
Spirit; " namely, " love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, 
goodness : " and without these, the testimony itself cannot 
continue. For it is inevitably destroyed, not only by the 
commission of any outward sin, or the omission of known duty, 
but by giving way to any inward sin ; in a word, by what- 
ever grieves the Holy Spirit of God. 

2. I observed many years ago, " It is hard to find words 
in the language of men, to explain the deep things of God. 
Indeed, there are none that will adequately express what the 
Spirit of God works in His children. But perhaps one might 
Bay, (desiring any who are taught of God, to correct, soften, 
or strengthen the expression,) by the testimony of the Spirit, 
I mean, an inward impression on the soul, whereby the Spirit 
of God. immediately and directly witnesses to my spirit, that 
I am a child of God ; that Jesus Christ hath loved me, and 
given Himself for me ; that all my sins are blotted out, 
and I, even I, am reconciled to God." 

3. After twenty years' further consideration, I see no 
cause to retract any part of this. Neither do I conceive how 
*ny of these expressions may be altered, so as to make them 


more intelligible. I can only add, that if any of the children 
of God will point out any other expressions which are more 
dear, or more agreeable to the word of God, I will readily 
lay these aside. 

4. Meantime let it be observed, I do not mean hereuy, 
that the Spirit of God testifies this by any outward voice ; 
no, nor always by an inward voice, although He may do this 
sometimes. Neither do I suppose, that He always applies 
to the heart (though He often may) one or more texts of 
Scripture. But He so works upon the soul by His immediate 
influence, arid by a strong, thongh ineiplicable operation, 
that the stormy wind and troubled wave's subside, and there 
is a sweet calm ; the heart resting as in the arms of Jesus, 
and the sinner being clearly satisfied that God is reconciled, 
that all his " iniquities are forgiven, and his sins covered." 

$. Now what is the matter of dispute concerning this? 
Not whether there be a witness or testimony of the 'Spirit. 
Not whether the Spirit does testify with our spirit that we 
are the children of God. None can deny this, without flatly 
contradicting the Scriptures, and charging a lie upon the 
God of truth. Therefore, that there is a testimony of the 
Spirit is acknowledged by all parties. 

6. Neither is it questioned, whether there is an indirect; 
witness, or testimony, that we are the children of God. This 
is nearly, if not exactly, the same with the testimony of a 
good conscience towards God ; and is the result of reason, or 
reflection on what we feel in our own souls. Strictly speak- 
ing, it is a conclusion drawn partly from the word of God, 
and partly from our own experience. The word of God 
says, every one who has the fruit of the Spirit is a child of 
God ; experience, or inward consciousness, tells me, that I 
have the fruit of the Spirit ; and hence I rationally conclude, 
" Therefore I am a child of God." This is likewise allowed 
on all hands, and so is no matter of controversy. 

7. Nor do we assert, that there can be any real testimony 
of the Spirit without the fruit 1 of the Spirit. We assert, on 
the contrary, that the fruit of the Spirit immediately springs 
from this testimony ; not always indeed in the same degree, 


even when the testimony is first given ; and much less after- 
wards. Neither joy nor peace is always at one stay ; no, nor 
love ; as neither is the testimony itself always equally strong 
and clear. 

8. But the point in question is, whether there be any 
direct testimony of the Spirit at all ; whether there be any 
other testimony of the Spirit, than that which arises from a 
consciousness of the fruit. 

III. i. I believe there is ; because that is the plain, 
natural meaning of the text, " The Spirit itself beareth wit- 
ness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." It 
is manifest, here are two witnesses mentioned, who together 
testify the same thing; the Spirit of God, and our own 
spirit. The late Bishop of London, in his sermon on this 
text, seems astonished that any one can doubt of this, which 
appears upon the very face of the words. Now, " The testi- 
mony of our own spirit," says the Bishop, " is one, which is 
the consciousness of our own sincerity ;" or, to express the 
same thing a little more clearly, the consciousness of the 
fruit of the Spirit. When our spirit is conscious of this, 
of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, it 
easily infers from these premises, that we are the children 
of God. 

2. It is true, that great man supposes the other witness 
to he, " the consciousness of our own good works." This, he 
affirms, is the testimony of God's Spirit. But this is included 
in the testimony of our own spirit ; yea, and in sincerity, even 
according to the common sense of the word. So the Apostle, 
" Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that 
in simplicity and godly sincerity we have had our conversation 
in the world : " whei*e, it is plain, sincerity refers to our 
words and actions at least as much as to our inward dispo- 
sitions. So that this is not another witness, but the very 
same that he mentioned before ; the consciousness of om 
good works being only one branch of the consciousness of 
our sincerity. Consequently here is only one witness still. 
If, therefore, the text speaks of two witnesses, one of these 


is not Hie consciousness of our good works, neither of our 
sincerity ; all this being manifestly contained in the testi- 
mony of our spirit. 

3. What then is the other witness ? This might easily 
be learned, if the text itself were not sufficiently clear, from 
the verse immediately preceding : " Te have received, not tie 
spirit of bondage, but the spirit of adoption, whereby we 
cry, Abba, Father." It follows, " The Spirit itself beareth 
witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." 

4. This is farther explained by the parallel text, (Gal. iv. 
6,) " Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of 
His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Is not 
this something immediate and direct, not the result of reflec- 
tion or argumentation ? Does not this Spirit cry, " Abba, 
Father," in our hearts, the moment it is given, antecedently 
to any reflection upon our sincerity ; yea, to any reasoning 
whatsoever ? And is not this the plain, natural sense of the 
words, which strikes any one as soon as he hears them ? All 
these texts then, in their most obvious meaning, describe a 
direct testimony of the Spirit. 

5. That the testimony of the Spirit of God must, iu the 
very nature of things, be antecedent to the testimony of our 
own spirit, may appear from this single consideration : we 
must be holy in heart and life before we can be conscious 
that we are so. But we must love God before we can be 
holy at all, this being the root of all holiness. Now, we 
cannot love God, till we know He loves us : " We love Him, 
because He first loved us : " and we cannot know His love 
to us, till His Spirit witnesses it to our spirit. Till then we 
cannot believe it ; we cannot say, " The life which I now live, 
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave 
Himself for me." 

" Then, only then we feel 
Our interest in His blood, 
And cry, with joy unspeakable, 
Thou art my Lord, my God ! " 

Since, therefore, the testimony of His Spirit must precede 


the love of God, and all holiness, of consequence it must pre- 
cede our consciousness thereof. 

6. And here properly comes in, to confirm this scriptural 
doctrine, the experience of the children of God ; the expe- 
rience not of two or three, not of a few, but of a great mul- 
titude which no man can number. It has been confirmed, 
both in this and in all ages, by " a cloud " of living and dying 
" witnesses." It is confirmed by your experience and mine. 
The Spirit itself bore witness to my spirit, that I was a child 
of God, gave me an evidence hereof ; and I immediately cried, 
"Abba, Father ! " And this I did (and so did you) before I 
reflected on, or was conscious of, any fruit of the Spirit. It 
was from this testimony received, that love, joy, peace, and 
the whole fruit of the Spirit flowed. First, I heard, 

" Thy sins are forgiven 1 Accepted thou art ! — 
I listen'd, and heaven sprung up in my heart." 

7. But this is confirmed, not only by the experience of the 
children of God, — thousands of whom can declare that they 
never did know themselves to be in the favour of God till it 
was directly witnessed to them by His Spirit, — but by all 
those who are convinced of sin, who feel the wrath of God 
abiding on them. These cannot be satisfied with anything 
less than a direct testimony from His Spirit, — that He is 
" merciful to their unrighteousness, and remembers their sins 
and iniquities no more." Tell any of these, " You are to 
know you are a child, by reflecting on what He has wrought 
in you, on your love, joy, and peace ; " and will he not im- 
mediately reply, " By all this I know I am a child of the 
devil ? I have no more love to God than the devil has ; my 
carnal mind is enmity against God. I have no joy in the 
Holy Ghost ; my soul is sorrowful even unto death. I have 
no peace ; my heart is a troubled sea ; I am all storm and 
tempest." And which way can these souls possibly be com- 
forted, but. by a divine testimony (not that they are good, or 
sincere, or comformable to the Scripture in heart and life, 
but) that God justifieth the ungodly ? — him that, till the 
moment he is justified, is all ungodly, void of all true holi- 


ness ; " him that worketh not," that worketh- nothing that is 
truly good, till he is conscious that h©' is accepted, not for 
any " works of righteousness which he hath done/* 'but 1 by 
the mere, free mercy of God; wholly and solely for what thfr 
Son of God hath done and suffered for him. And can it be 
any otherwise^ if " a man is justified by faith, without the 
works of the law ? " If so, what inwai'd or outward goodn&Bs 
can he be conscious of antecedent to his justification- ? 'Na/,'. 
is not the having nothing to pay, that is, the being 1 consciouii 
that " there dwelleth in us no good thing," neither inward nor 
outward goodness, essentially, indispensably necessary, before 
we can be "justified freely, through the redemption thai is 
in Jesus Christ ? " "Was ever any man justified since his 
coming into the world, or can any man ever be justified, till 
he is brought to that point, — 

" I give up every plea beside, — 
Lord, I am damn'd ; but Thou hast died? " 

8. Every one, therefore, who denies the existence' of such 
a testimony, does in effect deny justification by faith. ' 14 
follows, that either he! never experienced this, either he' never 
was justified, or that he has forgotten, as St. Peter speahfei 
rov KaQapurpov twv ir&kai abrov afiapriwv, the purification frortiJdi 
former sins ; the experience he then had himself ; the manner 
wherein God wrought in his own soul, when his former'-sins 
were blotted out. 

9. And the experience even of the children of the world 
here confirms that of the children of God. Many of theBe' 
have a desire to please God : some of them take much pains 
to please Him: but do they not, one arid all, count it the 
highest absurdity for any to talk of Mowing his sins are for- 
given ? Which of fhem even pretends to any such thing ? 
Arid yet many of them are conscious of their owri ^Sincerity. 
Many of them undoubtedly have, in a degree, the testimony 
of their own spirit, a consciousness of their own uprightness. 
But this brings them no consciousness that they are forgiven; 
no knowledge that they are the children of God. Yea; the 
more sincere they are, the more Uneasy they generally are, 


for want of knowing it ; plainly showing that this cannot be 
known, in a satisfactory manner, by the bare testimony of 
our own spirit, without God's directly testifying that we are 
His children. 

IV But abundance of objections have been made to this; 
the chief of which it may be well to consider. 

i. It is objected, first, "Experience is not sufficient to 
prove a doctrine which is not founded on Scripture." This 
is undoubtedly true ; and it is an important truth : but it does 
not affect the present question ; for it has been shown, that 
this doctrine is founded on Scripture : therefore experience 
is properly alleged to confirm it. 

2. "But madmen, French prophets, and enthusiasts of 
every kind, have imagined they experienced this witness." 
They have so ; and perhaps not a few of them did, although 
they did not retain it long: but if they did not, this is no 
proof at all that others have not experienced it ; as a mad- 
man's imagining himself a King, does not prove that there 
are no real Kings. 

" Nay, many who pleaded strongly for this, have utterly 
decried the Bible." Perhaps so ; but this was no necessary 
consequence : thousands plead for it who have the highest 
esteem for the Bible. " Tea, but many have fatally deceived 
themselves hereby, and got above all conviction." 

And yet a scriptural doctrine is no worse, though men 
abuse it to their own destruction. 

3. " But I lay it down as an undoubted truth, the fruit 
of the Spirit is the witness of the Spirit." Not undoubted ; 
thousands doubt of, yea, flatly deny it : but let that pass. 
" If this witness be sufficient, there is no need of any other. 
But it is sufficient, unless in one of these cases : 1. The total 
absence of the fruit of the Spirit." And this is the case, when 
the direct witness is first, given. 2. " The not perceiving it. 
But to contend for it in this case, is to contend for being in 
the favour of God, and not knowing it." True ; not knowing 
it at that time any otherwise than by the testimony which is 
•given for that end. And this we do contend for ; we contend 


that %he direct witness may shine clear, even while the in- 
direct one is under a cloud. 

4. It is objected, secondly, " The design of the witness 
contended for is, to prove that the profession we make: is 
genuine. But it does not prove this." I answer, the proving 
this is not the design of it. It is antecedent to our making 
any profession at all, but that of being lost, undone, guilty, 
helpless sinners. It is designed to assure those to whom it is 
given, that they are the children of God ; that they are " jus- 
tified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in 
Jesus Christ." And this does not suppose that their preced- 
ing thoughts, words, and actions, are comf ormable to the rule 
of scripture ; it supposes quite the reverse; namely, that they. 
are sinners all over ; sinners both in heart and life. Were it 
otherwise, God would justify the godly ; and their own works 
would be counted to them for righteousness. And I cannot but 
fear that a supposition of our being justified by works is at 
the root of all these objections; for, whoever cordially believes 
that God imputes to all that are justified righteousness ( without 
works, will find no difficulty in allowing the witness of His 
Spirit, preceding the fruit of it. 

5. It is objected, thirdly, "One Evangelist says, 'Tour 
heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask 
Him.' The other Evangelist calls the same thing 'good 
gifts ; ' abundantly demonstrating that the Spirit's way of 
bearing witness is by giving good gifts." Nay, here is 
nothing at all about bearing witness, either in the one text or 
the other. Therefore till this demonstration is better demon- 
strated, I let it stand as it is. 

6. It is objected, fourthly, " The Scripture says, ' The tree 
is known by its fruits. Prove all things. Try the spirits. 
Examine yourselves.' " Most true. Therefore, let every man 
who believes he " hath the witness in himself," try whether it 
be of God : if the fruit follow, it is ; otherwise it is not. For 
certainly " the tree is known by its fruit : " hereby we prove 
if it be " of God." " But the direct witness is never referred 
to in the book of God." Not as standing alone ; not as a 
gingle witness ; but as connected with the other ; as giving a 


joint testimony ; testifying with our spirit, that we are children 
of God. And who is able to prove, that it is not thus referred 
to in this very scripture ? " Examine yourselves whether ye 
be in the faith ; prove your own selves. Know ye not your 
own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you ? " It is by no means 
clear, that they did not know this by a direct as well as a 
remote witness. How is it proved, that they did not know it, 
first, by an inward consciousness ; and then, by love, joy, and 
peace ? 

7. "But the testimony arising from the internal and ex- 
ternal change is constantly referred to in the Bible." It is 
so : and we constantly refer thereto, to confirm the testimony 
of the Spirit. 

" Nay, all the marks you have given, whereby to distin- 
guish the operations of God's Spirit from delusion, refer to 
the change wrought in us and upon us." This, likewise, is 
undoubtedly true. 

8. It is objected, fifthly, that " the direct witness of the 
Spirit does not secure us from the greatest delusion. And 
is that a witness fit to be trusted, whose testimony cannot 
be depended on ? that is forced to fly to something else, to 
prove what it asserts P " I answer : To secure us from all 
delusion, God gives us two witnesses that we are His children. 
And this they testify conjointly. Therefore, "what God hath 
joined together, let no man put asunder." And while they 
are joined, we cannot be deluded : their testimony can be de- 
pended on. They are fit to be trusted in the highest degree, 
and need nothing else to prove what they assert. 

"Nay, the direct witness only asserts, but does not 
prove anything." By two witnesses shall every word be 
established. And when the Spirit witnesses with our spirit, 
as God designs it to do, then it fully proves that we are 
children of God. 

9. It is objected, sixthly, " You own the change wrought 
is a sufficient testimony, unless in the case of severe trials, 
such as that of our Saviour upon the cross ; but none of us 
can be tried in that manner." But you or I may be tried in 
such a manner, and so may any other child of God, that it 



will be impossible for us, to keep our filial confidence in God 
without the direct witness of His Spirit. 

10. It is objected, lastly, "The greatest contenders for it 
are some of the proudest and most uncharitable of men." 
Perhaps some of the hottest contenders for it are both proud 
and uncharitable ; but many of the firmest contenders for it 
are eminently meek and lowly in heart ; and, indeed, in all 
other respects also, 

" True followers of their lamb-like Lord." 

The preceding objections are the most considerable that I 
have heard, and I believe contain the strength of the cause. 
Yet I apprehend whoever calmly and impartially considers 
those' objections and the answers together, will easily see that 
they do not destroy, no, nor weaken, the evidence of that 
great truth, that the Spirit of God does directly, as well as 
indirectly, testify that we are children of God. 

V i. The sum of all is this : the testimony of the Spirit 
is an inward impression on the souls of believers, whereby 
the Spirit of God directly testifies to their spirit, that they 
are children of God. And it is not questioned, whether there 
is a testimony of the Spirit; but whether there is any direit 
testimony; whether there is any other than that which arises 
from a consciousness of the fruit of the Spirit. "We believe 
there is ; because this is the plain natural meaning of the 
text, illustrated both by the preceding words, andby the 
parallel passage in the Epistle to the Galatians; because, in 
the nature of the thing, the testimony must precede the fruit 
which springs from it; and because this plain meaning of the 
word of God is confirmed by the experience of innumerable 
children of God; yea, and by t .the experience of all who are 
convinced of sin, who can never rest till they have a direct 
witness; and even of the children of the world, who, not 
having the witness in themselves, one and all declare, none 
can know- -his sins forgiven. 

1. And whereas it is objected, that experience is not suffi- 
cient to prove a doctrine unsupported by Scripture; — that 


madmen and enthusiasts of every kind have imagined such a 
witness ;— that the design of that witness is to prove our pro- 
fession genuine, which design it does not answer ; — that the 
Scripture says, " The tree is known by its fruit ; " "examine 
yourselves; prove your ownselves; " and, meantime, the direct 
witness is never referred to in all the book of God ; — that 
it does not secure us from the greatest delusions; — and, 
lastly, that the change wrought in us is a sufficient testimony, 
unless in such trials as Christ alone suffered : — we answer, 
1. Experience is sufficient to confirm a doctrine which is 
grounded on Scripture. 2. Though many fancy they experi- 
ence what they do not, this is no prejudice to real experience. 
3. The design of that witness is, to assure us we are children 
of God ; and this design it does answer. 4. The true witness 
of the Spirit is known by its fruit, " love, peace, joy ; " not 
indeed preceding, but following it. 5. It cannot be proved, 
that the direct as well as the indirect witness is not referred 
to in that very text, " Know ye not your ownselves, that Jesus 
Christ is in you ? " 6. The Spirit of God, witnessing with 
our spirit, does secure us from all delusion : and, lastly, we 
are all liable to trials, wherein the testimony of our own 
spirit is not sufficient ; wherein nothing less that the direct 
testimony of God's Spirit can assure us that we are His 

S- Two inferences may be drawn from the whole; the first, 
Let none ever presume to rest in any supposed testimony of 
the Spirit, which is separate from the fruit of it. If the Spirit 
of God does really testify that we are the children of God, the 
immediate consequence will be the fruit of the Spirit, even 
"love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, 
meekness, temperance." And however this fruit may be 
clouded for a while, during the time of strong temptation, so 
that it does not appear to the tempted person, while Satan is 
sifting him as wheat ; yet the substantial part of it remains, 
even under the thickest cloud. It is true, joy in the Holy 
Ghost may be withdrawn, during the hour of trial ; yea, the 
wmlmay be "exceeding sorrowful," while "the hour and 
power of darkness" continue; but even this .is. generally 


restored with increase, till we rejoice "with joy unspeakable 
and full of glory." 

4. The second inference is, Let none rest in any supposed 
fruit of the Spirit without the witness. There may be fore- 
tastes of joy, of peace, of love, and those not delusive, but 
really from God, long before we have the witness in our. 
selves ; before the Spirit of God witnesses with our spirits 
that we have " redemption in the blood of Jesus, even the 
forgiveness of sins." Tea, there may be a degree qf long, 
suffering, of gentleness, of fidelity, meekness, temperance, 
(not a shadow thereof, but a real degree, by the preventing 
grace of God,) before we " are accepted in the Beloved," 
and, consequently, before we have a testimony of our ac- 
ceptance: but it is by no means advisable to rest here; 
it is at the peril of our souls if we do. If we are wise, we 
shall be continually crying to God, until His Spirit cry in oui 
heart, " Abba, Father ! " This is the privilege of all the chil- 
dren of God, and without this we can never be assured thai 
we are His children. "Without this we cannot retain a steadj 
peace, nor avoid perplexing doubts and fears. But when we 
have once received this Spirit of adoption, this "peace, which 
passeth all understanding," and which expels all painful doubt 
and fear, will "keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 
And when this has brought forth its genuine fruit, all inward 
and outward holiness, it is undoubtedly the will of Him that 
calleth us, to give us always what He has once given : so that 
there is no need that we should ever more be deprived of 
either the testimony of God's Spirit or the testimony of our 
own, the consciousness of our walking in all righteousness and 
true holiness. 

!N"ewkt, April 4, 1767. 

Is the witness of the Spirit an obscure and merely incidental doctrine of 
Scripture ? 
On the contrary it is "a truth revealed therein not once onlv " etc. 

—SEC. I. 1. ■" 


iTiom does it most nearly concern strongly to maintain, and at the same 
time carefully to guard, this doctrine? 
" The Methodists."— Sec. I. 4. 

mlHiat is the relative date of the second to the first discourse ? 

The second was written " after twenty years further consideration " 
—Sec. II. 3. 

«Iow does he explain the word " impression on the soul " ? 
See Sec. II. 2, 4 

*'s the doctrine of the witness of the Spirit peculiar to the Methodists, or 
is it held by the Universal Church ? 

" That there is a testimony of the Spirit is acknowledged by all 
parties."— Sec. II. 5. 

What then is " the point in question " on this subject ? 

" The point in question is whether there be any direct testimony of 
the Spirit," etc.-rSEC. II. 7. 

Is the witness of the Spirit always equally strong and clear ? 

No. " Neither joy nor peace is always at one stay," etc.— Sec II. 7. 

'What contemporary theologian does Wesley quote in favour of the direct 
witness of the Spirit, although he denies it ? 
" The late Bishop of London." (See Bishop Sherlock, Sermon VIII.) 

What confirmation of this doctrine have we beside Scripture 1 
" The experience of the children of God," etc. — Sec III. 6. 

How does he prove the necessity of the direct witness ? 

" All those who are convinced of sin cannot be satisfied with 

anything less," etc. — Sec III. 7. 

How does he show that the objection to the direct witness is, at the 
bottom, a legalist and Popish objection ? 

" I cannot but fear that a supposition of our being justified by works 
is at the root of all these objections," etc. — Sec IV 4. 

Is the witness of the Spirit separate, as well as distinct, from that of our 
own spirit? 
It is "a joint testimony."— Sec. IV. 6. 

Is it safe to rest satisfied with either of the witnesses without the other 1 
No. " To secure us from delusion, God gives us two witnesses," etc. 
—Sec IV 8. 

What is Wesley's summing up, and his accompanying caution ? 
See Sec V 1, 2. 



Does "Wesley discuss this subject in the spirit of a fair expositor and a 
sound theologian 1 

Yes, for he reasons entirely from Scripture and experience. -and 
meets every objection face to face. 

What is his final advice ? Is it worth attending to and enforcing} 
See the last paragraph. 


" If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." 2 Cor. v. 17. 

J i. IS there then sin in him that is in Christ ? Does sin 
. remain in one that believes in Him ? Is there any sin in 
them that are born of God, or are they wholly delivered from 
it? Let no one imagine this to be a question of mere 
curiosity ; or that it is of little importance whether it be 
determined one way or the other. Rather it is a point of 
the utmost moment to every serious Christian ; the resolving 
of which very nearly concerns both his present and eternal 

2. And yet I do not know that ever it was controverted 
in the primitive church. Indeed there was no room for dis- 
puting concerning it, as all Christians were agreed. And 
so far as I have ever observed, the whole body of ancient 
Christians, who have left us anything in writing, declare with 
one voice, that even believers in Christ, till they are "strong 
in the Lord and in the power of liis might," have need to 
" wrestle with flesh and blood," with an evil nature, as well 
as " with principalities and powers." 

3. And herein our own church (as indeed in most points) 
exactly copies after the primitive; declaring in her Ninth 
Article, " Original sin is the corruption of the nature of every 
man, whereby man is in his own nature inclined to evil, so 
that the flesh lusteth contrary to the Spirit. And this infec- 
tion of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated; 
whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek <ppovrifia oapcKoc, 
is not snbject to the law of God. And although thero is no 
condemnation for them that believe, yet this lust hath of 
itself the nature of sin." 

4. The same testimony is given by all other Churches ; 

11 2 


not only by the Greek and Romish Church, but by every 
Reformed Church in Europe, of whatever denomination. 
Indeed some of these seem to carry the thing too far ; so 
describing the corruption of heart in a believer, as scarce to 
allow that he has dominion over it, but, rather, is in bondage 
thereto; and, by this means, they leave hardly any distinction 
between a believer and an unbeliever. 

5. To avoid this extreme, many well-meaning men, parti- 
cularly those under the direction of the late Count Zinzen- 
dorf , ran into another ; affirming, that " all true believers are 
not only saved from the dominion of sin, but from the being of 
inward as well as outward sin, so that it no longer remains in 
them : " and from them, about twenty years ago, many of our 
countrymen imbibed the same opinion, that even the corrupt 
tion of nature is no more, in those who believe in Christ. ■■ 

6. It is true that, when the Germans were pressed upon 
this head, they soon allowed, (many of them at least,) that 
" sin did still remain in the flesh, but not in the heart of a be- 
liever : " and, after a time, when the absurdity of this was 
shown, they fairly gave up the point ; allowing that sin did 
still remain, though not reign, in him that is born of God. 

7. But the English, who had received it from them, (some 
directly, some at second or third hand,) were not so easily 
prevailed upon to part with a favourite opinion : and even 
when the generality of them were convinced it was utterly 
indefensible, a few could not be persuaded to give it up, but 
maintain it to this day. 

II. 1. Eor the sake of these who really fear God, and 
desire to know " the truth as it is in Jesus," it may not be 
amiss to consider the point with calmness and impartiality, 
In doing this, I use indifferently the words, regenerate, justified 
or believers ; since, though they have not precisely the same 
meaning, (the first implying an inward, actual change, the 
second a relative one, and the third the means whereby both 
the one and the other are wrought,) yet they come to one and 
the same thing; as every one that believes, is both justified 
and born of God. 


a. By sin, I here understand inward sin ; any sinful 
temper, passion, or affection ; such as pride, self-will, love 
of the world, in any kind or degree ; such as lust, anger, 
peevishness ; any disposition contrary to the mind which was 
in Christ. 

3. The question is not concerning outward sin; whether a 
child of God commit sin or no. We all agree and earnestly 
maintain, " He that committeth sin is of the devil." We 
agree, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." 
Neither do we now inquire whether inward sin will always 
remain in the children of God ; whether sin will continue in 
the soul as long as it continues in the body : nor yet do we 
inquire whether a justified person may relapse either into 
inward or outward sin ; but simply this, Is a justified or 
regenerate man freed from all sin as soon as he is justified ? 
Is there then no sin in his heart ? — nor ever after, unless he 
fall from grace ? 

4. We allow that the state of a justified person is inex- 
pressibly great and glorious. He is born again, " not of 
blood, nor of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." 
He is a child of God, a member of Christ, an heir of the king- 
dom of heaven. " The peace of God, which passetli all under- 
standing, keepeth his heart and mind in Christ Jesus." His 
very body is a "temple of the Holy Ghost," and an "habita- 
tion of God through the Spirit." He is " created anew in 
Christ Jesus : " he is washed, he is sanctified. His heart is 
purified by faith ; he is cleansed " from the corruption that is 
in the world ; " " the love of God is shed abroad in his heart, 
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto him." And so long 
as he "walketh in love," (which he may always do,) he 
worships God in spirit and in truth. He keepetli the com- 
mandments of God, and doeth those things that are pleasing 
in His sight ; so exercising himself as to " have a conscience 
void of offence Inward God, and toward men:" and ho lias 
power both over outward and inward sin, even from the 
moment he is justified. 

Ill 1. "But was he not then freed from all sin, so that 

102 on sin in believers. 

there is no sin in his heart ? " I cannot say this ; I cannot 

believe it ; "because St. Paul says the contrary. He is speak- 
ing to believers, and describing the state of believers in 
general, when he says, "The flesh lnsteth against the Spirit, 
and the Spirit against the flesh : these are contrary the one 
to the other." (Gal. v. 17.) Nothing can be more express* 
The Apostle here directly affirms that the flesh, evil nature, 
opposes the Spirit, even in believers ; that even in the "re- 
generate there are two principles, " contrarv the one to the 

2. Again : when he writes to the believers at Corinth, io 
those who were " sanctified in Christ Jesus," (1 Cor. i. 2,) he 
says, " I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, 
but as unto carnal, as Unto babes in Christ. Te are yet 
carnal : for whereas there is among you envying and strife, are 
ye not carnal ? " (Chap. iii. 1, 3.) Now, here the Apostle 
speaks unto those who were unquestionably believers,— whom, 
in the same breath, he styles his brethren in Christ, — as being 
still, in a measure, carnal. He affirms, there was envying, (an 
evil temper,) occasioning strife among them, and yet does not 
give the least intimation that they had lost their faith. Nay, 
he manifestly declares they had not ; for then they would not 
have been babes in Christ. And (what is most remarkable of 
all) he speaks of being carnal, and babes in Christ, as one and 
the same thing ; plainly showing that every believer is (in a 
degree) carnal, while he is only a babe in Christ. 

3. Indeed this grand point, that there are two contrary 
principles in believers, — nature and grace, the flesh and the 
Spirit, runs through all the Epistles of St. Paul, yea, through 
all the holy Scriptures ; almost all the directions and exhorta- 
tions therein are founded on this supposition; pointing "at 
wrong tempers or practices in those who are,' notwithstanding, 
acknowledged by the inspired writers to be believers. And 
they are continually exhorted to fight with and conquer these 
by the power of the faith which was in them. 

4. And who can doubt, but there was faith in the angel of 
the church of Ephesus, when our Lord said to him, " I know 
thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience : thou hast 


patience, and for My name's sake hast laboured, and hast not 
fainted ? " (Rev. ii. 2 — 4.) But was there, meantime, no sin 
in his heart ? Yea, or Christ -would not have added, " Never- 
theless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left 
thy first love." This was real sin which God saw in his heart ; 
of which, accordingly, he is exhorted to repent : and yet we 
have no authority to say, that even then he had no faith. 

5. Nay, the angel of the church at Pergamos, also, is ex- 
horted to repent, which implies sin, though our Lord expressly 
says, " Thou hast not denied My faith." (Yerses 13, 16.) 
And to the angel of the church in Sardis He says, " Strengthen 
the things which remain, that are ready to die." The good 
which remained was ready to die, but was not actually 
dead. (Chap. iii. 2.) So there was still a spark of faith 
even in him ; which he is accordingly commanded to [hold 
fast. (Verse 3-) op 

ib 6. Once more : when the Apostle exhorts believers to 
"cleanse themselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit," (2 
Oor. vii. 1,) he plainly teaches, that those believers were not 
yet cleansed therefrom. 

"Will you answer, " He that abstains from all appearance 
pf evil does, ipso facto, cleanse himself from all filthiness ? " 
Not in anywise. For instance : a man reviles me : I feel 
resentment, which is filthiness of spirit ; yet I say not a word. 
Here I " abstain from all appearance of evil ; " but this does 
not cleanse me from that filthiness of spirit, as I experience 
to my sorrow. 

k 7. And as this position, " There is no sin in a believer, no 
carnal mind, no bent to backsliding," is thus contrary to tho 
word of God, so it is to the experience of His children. These 
continually feel an heart bent to backsliding ; a natural ten- 
dency to evil ; a proneness to depart from God, and cleave to 
the things of earth. They are daily sensible of sin remaining 
in their heart,— pride, self-will, unbelief ; and of sin cleaving 
to all they speak and do, even their best actions and holiest 
duties. Yet at the same time they " know that they are of 
God ; " they cannot doubt of it for a moment. They feel His 
Spirit clearly " witnessing with their spirit, that they are the 


children of Gtod." They "rejoice in God through Christ Jesus, 
by whom they have now received the atonement." So that 
they are equally assured, that sin is in them, and that " Christ 
is in them the hope of glory." 

8. " But can Christ be in the same heart where sin is ? " 
Undoubtedly He can ; otherwise it never could be saved there- 
from. Where the sickness is, there is the Physician, 

" Carrying on His work within, 
Striving till He cast out sin." 

Christ indeed cannot reign where sin reigns ; neither will H« 
dwell where any sin is allowed. But He is and dwells in th< 
heart of every believer, who is fighting against all sin; al 
though it be not yet purified, according to the purification o: 
the sanctuary. 

9. It has been observed before, that the opposite doctrine 
— that there is no sin in believers — is quite new in the church 
of Christ ; that it was never heard of for seventeen hundred 
years ; never till it was discovered by Count Zinzendorf . I do 

»not remember to have seen the least intimation of it, either in 
any ancient or modern writer ; unless perhaps in some of the 
wild, ranting Antinomians. And these likewise say and unsay, 
acknowledging there is sin in their flesh, although no sin in 
their heart. But whatever doctrine is new must be wrong ; for 
the old religion is the only true one ; and no doctrine can 
be right, unless it is the very same " which was from the 

10. One argument more against this new, nnscriptural 
doctrine may be drawn from the dreadful consequences of it. 
One says, " I felt anger to-day." Must I reply, " Then you 
have no faith ? " Another says, « I know what you advise is 
good, but my will is quite averse to it." Must I tell him, 
" Then you are an unbeliever, under the wrath and the curse 
of God ? " "What will be the natural consequence of this ? 
"Why, if he believe what I say, his soul will not only be grieved 
and wounded, but perhaps utterly destroyed; inasmuch as he 
Will "cast away " that " confidence which hath great recom- 
pense of reward j " and having cast away his shield, how shall 


he " quench the fiery darts of the wicked one ? " How shall 
he overcome the ■world? — seeing "this is the victory that 
orercometh the world, even our faith." He stands disarmed 
in the midst of his enemies, open to all their assaults. "What 
yonder, then, if he be utterly overthrown : if they take him 
captive at their will ; yea, if he fall from one wickedness to 
another, and never see good any more ? I cannot, therefore, 
by any means receive this assertion, that there is no sin in a 
believer from the moment he is justified ; first, because it is 
contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture ; — secondly, because 
it is contrary to the experience of the children of God ; — 
thirdly, because it is absolutely new, never heard of in the 
world till yesterday; — and, lastly, because it is naturally 
attended with the most fatal consequences ; not only grieving 
those whom God hath not grieved, but perhaps dragging them 
into everlasting perdition. 

IV i. However, let us give a fair hearing to the chief 
arguments of those who endeavour to support it. And it is, 
first, from Scripture they attempt to prove that there is no sin 
in a believer. They argue thus : " The Scripture says, Every 
believer is born of God, is clean, is holy, is sanctified, is pure 
in heart, has a new heart, is a temple of the Holy Ghost. 
Now, as ' that which is born of the flesh is flesh,' is altogether, 
evil, so ' that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,' is altogether 
good. Again : a man cannot be clean, sanctified, holy, and at 
the same time unclean, unsanctified, unholy. He cannot be 
pure and impure, or have a new and an old heart together. 
Neither can his soul be unholy, while it is a temple of the Holy 

I have put this objection as strong as possible, that its 
fall weight may appear. Let us now examine it part by part. 
And, 1. " That which is born of the Spirit is spirit, is alto- 
gether good." I allow the text, but not the comment. For 
the text affirms this, and no more, — that every man who is 
''born of the spirit " is a spiritual man. He is so : but so he 
may be, and yet not be altogether spiritual. The Christians 
at Corinth were spiritual men; else they had been no 


Christians at all : and yet they were not altogether spiritual f 
they were still; in part, carnal. — " But they were fallen from? 
grace." St. Paul says, No. They were even then babes'ini 
Christ. 2. " But a man cannot be clean, sanctified, holy, andii 
at the same time unclean, unsanctified, unholy." Indeed he: 
may. So the Corinthians were. "Ye are washed," says the; 
Apostle, " ye are sanctified ; '* namely, cleansed from " forni- 1 
cation, idolatry, drunkenness," and all other outward sin ;j 
(1. Cor. vi. 9 — 11;) and yet, at the same time, in another; 
sense of the word, they were unsanctified; they were not 
washed, not inwardly cleansed from envy, evil-surmising; . 
partiality. — "But sure, they had not a new heart and an old- 
heart together." It it most sure they had ; for, at that very 
time, their hearts were truly, yet not entirely, renewed. Their 
carnal mind was nailed to the cross ; yet it was not wholly 
destroyed. — "But could they be unholy, while they were 
temples of the Holy Ghost ? " Yes ; that they were temples 
of the Holy Grhost is certain ; (1 Cor. vi. 19;) and it is equally 
certain, they were, in some degree, carnal, that is, unholy! '<| 
2. " However, there is one scripture more which will put 
the matter out of question : ' If any man be ' a believer 'in 
Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away ; 
behold, all things are become new.' (2 Cor. v. 17.) Now; 
certainly a man cannot be a new creatureand an old creature 
at once." Yes, he may: he may be partly renewed, which 
was the very case with those at Corinth. They were doubt- 
less " renewed in the spirit of their mind," or they could not 
have been so much as " babes in Christ ; " yet they had' not 
the whole mind which was in Christ, for they envied One 
another. " But it is said expressly, ' Old things are passed 
away ; all things are become new.' " But w must not so 
interpret the Apostle's Words, as to make him contradibfr'him- 
self. And if we will make him consistent with himself; the 
plain meaning of the words is this: His old judgment con- 
cerning justification, holiness, happiness, indeed concerning 
the things of Cod in general, is now passed away ; + so are his 
old desires, designs, affections, tempers, and conversati6n. 
All these are undeniably become new, greatly changed from 


what they were ; and yet', though they are new, they are not 
wholly new. Still he feel's, to his sorrow and shame, remains 
of the old man, tod manifest taints of his former tempers and 
fcffections, though they cannot gain any advantage over him, 
as long as he watches unto prayer. 

3. This whole argument, " If he is clean, he is clean ; " 
"If he is holy, he is holy ; " (and twenty more expressions of 
the same kind may easily be heaped together ;) is really no 
better than playing upon words ; it is the fallacy of arguing 
from a particular to a general ; of inferring a general conclu- 
sion from particular premises. Propose the sentence entire, 
tmdit rnns thus : "If he is holy at all, he is holy altogether." 
That does not follow : every babe in Christ is holy, and yet 
not altogether so. He is saved from sin ; yet not entirely : it 
Remains, though it does not reign. If you think it does not 
'remain, (in babes at least whatever be the case with young 
men or fathers,) you certainly have not considered the height, 
and depth, and length, and breadth of the law of God ; (even 
the law of love laid down by St. Paul in the thirteenth of 
Corinthians;) and that every avofiia, disconformity to, or 
deviation from, this law, is sin. Now, is there no discon- 
formity to this in the heart or life of a believer ? What 
may be in an adult Christian, is another question ; but what 
a stranger must he be to human nature, who can possibly 
imagine, that this is the case with every babe in Christ ! 

4. " But believers ' walk after the Spirit,'* (Rom viii. 1,) 
and the Spirit of God dwells in them ; consequently, they 
are delivered from the guilt, the power, or, in one word, the 
Deing of sin." 

These are coupled together, as if they were the same 
thing. But they are not the same thing. The guilt is one 
thing, the power another, and the being yet another. That 
believers are delivered from the guilt and power of sin, we 

* What follows for some pages is an answer to a paper published in 
the Christian Magazine, pp. 577—582. I am surprised Mr. Dodd should 
give such a paper a place in his Magazine, which is directly contrary to 
our Ninth Article. 


allow ; that they are delivered from the being of it, we den 
Nor does it in any wise follow from these texts. A man ms 
have the Spirit of God dwelling in him, and may " walk af t( 
the Spirit," though he still feels " the flesh lusting again! 
the Spirit." 

5. " But ' the church is the body of Christ ; ' (Col. i. 24 
this implies, that its members are washed from all filthiness 
otherwise it will follow, that Christ and Belial are incoi 
porated with each other." 

Nay, it will not follow from hence, " Those who are the* 
mystical body of Christ still feel the flesh lusting against thi-' 
Spirit," that Christ has any fellowship with the devil, or- 
with that sin which He enables them to resist and overcome;: 

6. " But are not Christians ' come to the heavenly Jeru- 
salem,' where ' nothing defiled can enter ? ' " (Heb. xii. 22.) 
Yes ; " and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the 
spirits of just men made perfect : " that is, 

■■ " Earth and heaven all agree, 
All is one great family." 

And they are likewise holy and undefiled, while they "walk 
after the Spirit ; " although sensible there is another prin- 
ciple in them, and that " these are contrary to each other." ; 

7. "But Christians are reconciled to God. Now, this 
could not be, if any of the carnal mind remained ; for this is 
enmity against God : consequently, no reconciliation can be 
effected, but by its total destruction." 

We are "reconciled to God through the blood of the 
cross : " and in that moment the (ppovrj/jia crapKog, the corrup- 
tion of nature, which is enmity with God, is put under our 
feet ; the flesh has no more dominion over us. But it still 
exists, and it is still in its nature enmity with God, lusting 
against His Spirit. 

8. " But ' they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh 
with its affections and lusts.' " (Gal. v. 24.) They have so ; 
yet it remains in them still, and often struggles to break from 
the cross. " Nay, but they have ' put off the old man with 
his deeds.'" (Col. iii. 9.) They have; arid, in the sense 


shore described, " old things are passed away ; all things are 
become new." A hundred texts may be cited to the same 
effect; and they will all admit of the same answer.—" But, 
to say all in one word, « Christ gave Himself for the church,' 
that it might be holy and without blemish.' " (Eph. v. 25, 

27.) And so it will be in the end : but it never was yet' 

from the beginning to this day. 
o. "But let experience speak: all who are justified do 

at that time find an absolute freedom from all sin." That I 

doubt : but, if they do, do they find it ever after ? Else you 

gain nothing.—" If they do not, it is their own fault." That 

remains to be proved. 

Jo. " But in the very nature of things, can a man have 

pnde in him, and not be proud; anger, and yet not be 
angry ? " 

A man may have pride in him, may think of himself in 
some particulars above what he ought to think, (and so be 
proud in that particular,) and yet not be a proud man in his 
general character. He may have anger in him, yea, and a 
strong propensity to furious anger, without giving way to it. 
-out can anger and pride be in that heart, where only meek- 
ness and humility are felt ?" No : but some pride and anger 
may be in that heart, where there is much humility and 

It avails not to say, ' These tempers are there, but they 
do not reign : ' for sin cannot, in any kind or degree, exist 
where it does not reign; for guilt and power are essential 
properties of sin. Therefore, where one of them is, all 
must be." 

Strange indeed ! " Sin cannot, in any kind or degree, 
exist where it does not reign?" Absolutely contrary this to 
all experience, all Scripture, all common sense. Resentment 
of an affront is sin ; it is avo/xla, disconformity to the law of 
love. This has existed in me a thousand times. Yet it did 
not, and does not, reign. — " But guilt and power are essential 
properties of sin ; therefore, where one is, all must be." No: 
in the instance before us, if the resentment I feel is not 
yielded to, even for a moment, there is no guilt at all, no 

1^0 onsinin Seeievers. 

condemnation from God upon that *,coount. And in this 
case, it has no power. Though it "lusteth against rthe 
Spirit," it cannot prevail. Here, therefore, as in' ten thou- 
sand instances, there is sin without either guilt or power. 

ii. '* But the supposing sin in a believer is pregnant with 
everything frightful and discouraging. It implies the con? 
tending with a power that has the possession of our strength^ 
maintains his usurpation of our hearts ; and there, prosecutes 
the war in defiance of our Redeemer." Not so : the Suppos- 
ing sin is in us, does not imply that it has the possessitincof 
our strength ; ' no more -than a man crucified has the possession 
of those that crucify him. As little does it imply, that " sin 
maintains its usurpation of our hearts." The usurper is de- 
throned. He remains indeed where he once reigned ; but 
remains in chains. So that he does, in some sense, " pro r 
secute the war," yet he grows weaker and weaker; while 
the believer goes on from strength to strength, conquering 
and to conquer. 

12. " I am not satisfied yet : he. that has sin in him, is a 
slave to sin. Therefore you suppose a man to be justified, 
while he is a slave to sin. Now, if you allow men may be 
justified while they have pride, anger, or unbelief in them;; 
nay, if you aver, these are (at least for a time) in all that 
are justified ; what wonder that we have so many, proud, 
angry, unbelieving believers ? "' 

w£ I do not suppose any man who is. justified . is a slave to 
■in : yet I do suppose sin remains (at least for a time>in all 
rthat are justified. 

" But, if sin remains in a believer, he is a sinful man : if 
pride, for instance, then he is proud ; if .' self-will, then ; he is 
self-willed; if unbelief, then he is an unbeliever ; conse r 
quently, no believer at all. ' How then does, he differ from 
unbelievers, from unregenerate men ? " This is still mere 
playing upon words. It means .no more than, If there is sin, 
pride, self-will in him, then— there is sin, pride, self-will. 
And this 'nobody Can deny. In that sense then he is proud, 
or self-willed. But he is not proud or self-willed in the same 
sense that unbelievers are ; that is, governed by pride or self- 

Ok sin in believers. HI 

will. Herein he differs from unregenerate men. They obey 
Bin ; he does not. Flesh is in them both : but they " -walk 
afterthe flesh; " he "walks after the Spirit." 

" But how can unbelief be in a believer ? " That word has 
two meanings. It means either no faith, or little faith ; either 
the absence of faith, or the weakness of it. In the former 
sense unbelief is not in a believer ; in the latter, it is in all 
babes. Their faith is commonly mixed with doubt or fear ; 
that is, in the latter sense, with unbelief. " Why are ye 
fearful," says our Lord, " O ye of little faith ? " Again : " O 
thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? " You see 
here was unbelief in believers ; little faith and much unbelief. 

13. " But this doctrine, that sin remains in a believer ; 
that a man may be in the favour of God, while be has sin in 
his heart y certainly tends to encourage men in sin." Under- 
stand the proposition right, and no such consequence follows. 
A man may be in God's favour though he feel sin ; but not if 
he yields to it. Saving sin does not forfeit the favour of God ; 
giving way to sin does. Though the flesh in you " lust against 
the Spirit," you may still be a child of God ; but if you 
"walk after the flesh," you are a child of the devil. Now 
this doctrine does not encourage to obey sin, but to resist it 
with all our might. 

V 1. The sum of all this is: there are in every person, 
evenafter he is j ustified, two contrary principles, nature and 
grace, termed by St. Paul, the flesh and the Spirit. Hence, 
although even babes in Christ are sanctified, yet it is only 
in part. In a degree, according to the measure of their faith, 
they are spiritual ; yet in a degree they are carnal. Accord- 
ingly, believers are continually exhorted to watch against the 
flesh, as well as the world and the devil. And to this agrees 
the constant experience of the children of God. While they 
feel this witness in themselves, they feel a will not wholly re- 
signed to the will of God. They know they are in Him ; 
and yet find an heart ready to depart from Him, a proneness 
to evil in many instances, and a backwardness to that which 
■ is good. The contrary doctrine is wholly new ; never heard 


of in the church of Christ, from the time of His coming 
into the world, till the time of Count Zinzendorf ; and it is 
attended with the most fatal consequences. It cuts off all 
watching against our evil nature, against the Delilah which 
we are told is gone, though she is still lying in our bosom. , 
It tears away the shield of weak believers, deprives them of 
their faith, and so leaves them exposed to all the assaults of 
the world, the flesh, and the devil. 

2. Let us, therefore, hold fast the sound doctrine " once 
delivered to the saints," and delivered down by them, with 
the written word, to all succeeding generations: that, 
although we are renewed, cleansed, purified, sanctified, the 
moment we truly believe in Christ, yet we are not then 
renewed, cleansed, purified altogether; but the flesh, the 
evil nature, still remains, (though subdued,) and wars against 
the Spirit. So much the more let us use all diligence in 
" fighting the good fight of faith." So much the more 
earnestly let us " watch and pray " against the enemy 
within. The more carefully let us take to ourselves, and 
" put on, the whole armour of God ; " that, although " we 
wrestle " both " with flesh and blood, and with principalities, 
and powers, and wicked spirits in high places," we " may 
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, 
to stand." 

Is the doctrine of sin in believers taught by the Church Universal ? 
Yes. See Sec. I. 1, 2, 3, 4. 

Do any Christian teachers carry the doctrine too far ; so as almost to 
obliterate the distinction between a believer and an unbeliever 1 
Yes ; " Indeed some of these seem to carry the thing too far," etc. 
—Sec. I. 4. 

Have any " well-meaning men" run into another extreme? 
Yes. See Sec. I. 5. 

What was the " German " subterfuge on this point ? 
&0.SEC. I. 6. 

Whence did the notion arise that justification destroys the inbeing of sin 1 
See Sec. I. 7. 


How does Wesley prove from Scripture that a child of God may have 
some remaining sin ? 
See Sec. III. 2, 3, 4, 5. 

Can Christ and sin be in the same heart at the same time 1 
" Undoubtedly."— Sec. III. 8. 

What is the difference between sin in a believer, and sin in the unre- 
generate ? 
" Christ indeed cannot reign where sin reigns," etc. — Sec. III. 8. 

Who invented the doctrine that justification ensures immediate and 
absolute freedom from indwelling sin 1 
"Zinzendorf."— Sec. III. 9. 

In what five words does Wesley state the condition of a babe in Christ ? 
" Truly, yet not entirely renewed." 

Then, can a man have a new heart and an old heart at the same time ? 
" Yes he may," etc. 

How does Wesley expose the fallacy of Zinzendorf 's reasoning on this 
See Sec. IV. 3. 

What is the threefold distinction as to sin in any individual 1 

" The guilt is one thing, the power another, and the being yet 

Can there be sin without guilt or power 1 

"In ten thousand instances there is." — Sec. IV. 10. 

What are the evil consequences of Zinzendorf's doctrine 1 

'• It cuts off all watching against our evil nature," etc.— Sec. V. 1. 


" Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." Mark i. 15. 

IT is generally supposed, that repentance and faith are 
only the gate of religion ; that they are necessary only at 
the beginning of our Christian course, when we are setting 
out in the way to the kingdom. And this may seem to be 
confirmed by the great Apostle, where, exhorting the Hebrew 
Christians to " go on to perfection," he teaches them to leave 
these " first principles of the doctrine of Christ ; " " not 
laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, 
and of faith towards God ; " which must at least mean, that 
they should comparatively leave these, that at first took up 
all their thoughts, in order to " press forward toward the 
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

2. And this is undoubtedly true, that there is a repentance 
and a faith, which are, more especially, necessary at the 
beginning : a repentance, which is a conviction of our utter 
sinfulness, and guiltiness, and helplessness; and which pre- 
cedes our receiving that kingdom of God, which, our Lord 
observes, is " within us ; " and a faith, whereby we receive 
that kingdom, even " righteousness, and peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost." 

3 . But, notwithstanding this, there is also a repentance 
and a faith (taking the words in another sense, a sense not 
quite the same, nor yet entirely different) which are requisite 
after we have " believed the Gospel ; " yea, and in every 
subsequent stage of our Christian course, or we cannot " run 
the race which is set before us." And this repentance and* 
faith are full as necessary, in order to our continuance and 
growth in grace, as the former faith and repentance were, in 
order to our entering into the kingdom of God. 

But in what sense are we to repent and believe, after we 


are justified ? This is an important question, and worthy of 
being considered -with the utmost attention. 

I. And, first, in what sense are we to repent ? 

i. Repentance frequently means an inward change, a 
change of mind from sin to holiness. But we now speak of 
it in a quite different sense, as it is one kind of self-know- 
ledge, the knowing ourselves sinners, yea, guilty, helpless 
sinners, even though we know we are children of God. 

i. Indeed when we first know this ; when we first find 
redemption in the blood of Jesus ; when the love of Clod is 
first shed abroad in our hearts, and His kingdom set up there- 
in; it is natural to suppose that we are no longer sinners, 
that all our sins are not only covered but destroyed. 

As we do not then feel any evil in our hearts, we readily 
imagine none is there. Nay, some well-meaning men have 
imagined this not only at that time, but ever after; having 
persuaded themselves, that when they were justified, they 
were entirely sanctified : yea, they have laid it down as a 
general rule, in spite of Scripture, reason, and experience. 
These sincerely believe, and earnestly maintain, that all sin 
is destroyed when we are justified; and that there is no sin 
in the heart of a believer ; but that it is altogether clean 
from that moment. But though we readily acknowledge, 
" he that believeth is born of God," and " he that is born of 
God doth not commit sin ; " yet we cannot allow that he 
does not feel it within : it does not reign, but it does remain. 
And a conviction of the sin which remains in our heart, is 
one great branch of the repentance we are now speaking of. 

s. Tor it is seldom long before he who imagined all sin 
was gone, feels there is still pride in his heart. He is con- 
vinced both that in many respects he has thought of himself 
more highly than he ought to think, and that he has taken to 
himself the praise of something he had received, and gloried 
in it as though he had not received it ; and yet he knows he 
is in the favour of God. He cannot, and ought not to, " cast 
away his confidence." " The Spirit " still " witnesses with " 
his " spirit) that he is a child of God." 

i 2 


4. Nor is it long before he feels self-wil l in his heart ; even 
a will contrary to the will of God. A will every man must 
inevitably have, as long as he has an understanding. This is 
an essential part of human nature, indeed of the nature of 
every intelligent being. Our blessed Lord Himself had a will 
as a man; otherwise He had not been a man. But His human 
will was invariably subject to the will of His Father. At all 
times, and on all occasions, even in the deepest affliction, He 
could say, "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt." But this is not 
the case at all times, even with a true believer in Christ. He 
frequently finds his will more or less exalting itseH agajnst 
tEaZjgDTof^Gad.^ He wills something, because it is pleasing to 
nature, which is not pleasing to God ; and he nills (is averse 
from) something, because it is painful to nature, which is the 
will of God concerning him. Indeed, suppose he continues in 
the faith, he fights against it with all his might : but this 
very thing implies that it really exists, and that he is conscious 
of it. 

5. Now self-will, as well as pride, is a species of idolatry ; 
and both are directly contrary to the love of God. The same 
observation may be made concerning the love of the world. 
But this likewise even true believers are liable to feel in 
themselves ; and every one of them does feel it, more or less, 
sooner or later, in one branch or another. It is true, when he 
first " passes from death unto life," he desires nothing more 
but God. He can truly say, " All my desire is unto Thee, and 
unto the remembrance of Thy name : " " Whom have I in 
heaven but Thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire 
beside Thee." But it is not so always. In process of time he 
will feel again, though perhaps only for a few moments, either 
" the desire of the flesh," or " th^ejsireofjhjejsye," or " the 
pride of life." Nay, if he does not continually watch and pray, 
he may find lust reviving; yea, and thrusting sore at him that 
he may fall, till he has scarce any strength left in him. He 
may feel the assaults of irwrdinate ajTection ; yea, a strong pro- 
pensity to " lpjssjh^creature morethanTEe Creator; " whether 
it be a child, a parent, a husband or wif e~or"""the friend that 
is as his own soul." He may feel, in a thousand various 


ways, a desire of earthly things or pleasures. In the same 
proportion he will forget God, not seeking his happiness in 
Him, and consequently being a " lover of pleasure more than 
a lover of God." 

6. If lie does not keep himself every moment, he will again 
feel the desire of the eye; the desire of gratifying his imagination 
with something great, or beautiful, or uncommon. In how 
many ways does this desire assault the soul ! Perhaps with 
regard to the poorest trifles, such as dress, or furniture ; 
things never designed to satisfy the appetite of an immortal 
spirit. Yet, how natural is it for us, even after we have 
" tasted of the powers of the world to come," to sink again 
into these foolish, low desires of things that perish in the using ! 
How hard is it, even for those who know in whom they have 
believed, to conquer but one branch of the desire of the eye, 
curiosity ; constantly to trample it under their feet ; to desire 
nothing merely because it is new ! 

7. And how hard is it even for the children of God wholly 
to conquer the pride of life 1 St. John seems to mean by 
bhis nearly the same with what the world terms " the sense of 
honour." This is no other than a desire of, and delight in, 
; ' the honour that cometh of men ; " a desire and love of 
praise ; and, which is always joined with it, a proportionable 
r ear of dispraise. Nearly allied to this is evil shame ; the being 
ishamed of that wherein we ought to glory. And this is 
jeldom divided from the fear of man, which brings a thousand 
snares upon the soul. Now where is he, even among those 
that seem strong in faith, who does not find in himself a 
degree of all these evil tempers ? So that even these are but 
in part "crucified to the world ; " for the evil root still remains 
in their heart. " 

8. And do we not feel other tempers, which are as contrary 
to the love of our neighbour as these are to the love of God ? 
The love of our neighbour " thinketh no evil." Do not we 
find anything of the kind ? Do we never find any jealousies, 
any evil surmisings, any groundless or unreasonable suspicions ? 
He that is clear in these respects, let him cast the first stone at 
his neighbour. Who does not sometimes feel other tempers or 



inward motions, which lie knows are cbntrary to brotherly 
love ? If nothing of malice, hatred, or bitterness, is there no 
touch of envy; particularly toward those who enjoy some real 
or supposed good, which we desire > but cannot attain ? Do we 
never find any degree of .resentmen t, when we are injured or 
affronted; especially by those whom we peculiarly loved,, and 
whom we had most laboured to help or oblige ? Does injus- 
tice or ingratitude never excite in us any desire of revenge ? 
any desire of returning evil for evil, instead of " overcoming 
evil with good ? " This also shows, how much is still in our 
heart, which is contrary to the love of our neighbour. 

9 . JJove tousness, in every kind and degree, is certainly as 
contrary to : EEisas to the love of God; whether QiXapyvpia, the 
love of money, which is too frequently "the root of all evil;" or 
vXeove&a, literally, a desire of having more, or increasing in 
substance. And how few, even of "The real children of God, 
are entirely free from both ! Indeed one great man, Martin 
Luther, used to say, he "never had any coveteousness in him" 
(not only in his converted state, but) " ever since he was 
born." But, if so, I would not scruple to say, he was the only 
man born of a woman, (except Him that was God as well as 
man,) who had not, who was born without it Nay, I believe, 
never was any one born of God, that lived any considerable 
time after, who did not feel more or less of it many times, 
especially in the latter sense. "We may therefore set it down 
as an undoubted truth, that covetousness, together with pride, 
and self-will, and anger, remain in the hearts even of them 
that are justified. 

10. It is their experiencing this, which has inclined so 
many serious persons to understand the latter part of the 
seventh chapter to the. Romans, not of them that are " under 
the law," that are convinced of sin, which is undoubtedly the 
meaning of the Apostle, but of them that are "under grace;" 
that are. "justified freely through the redemption that is in 

Christ." And it is most certain, they are thus far right : 

there does still remain, even in them that are justified, a mind 
wh^ch is in some, measure carMaf; (so the Apostle tells even 
the believers at Corinth, " Te are carnal ; ") an heart bent to 


lachsliding, still ever ready to " depart from the living God ; " 
a propensity to pride, self-will, anger, revenge, love of the 
World, yea, and all evil : a root of bitterness, which, if the 
restraint were taken off for a moment, would instantly spring 
up ; yea, such a depth of corruption, as, without clear light 
from God, we cannot possibly conceive. And a conviction of 
all this sin remaining in. their hearts is the repentance which 
belongs to them that are justified. 

ir. But we should likewise be convinced, that as sin 
remains in our hearts, so it cleaves to all our words and ac- 
tions. Indeed it is to be feared, that many of our words are 
more than mixed with sin ; that they are sinful altogether ; 
for such undoubtedly is all uncharitable conversation ; all which 
does not spring from brotherly love ; all which does not agree 
with that golden rule, " What ye would that others should do 
to you, even so do unto them." Of this kind is all backbiting, 
all tale-bearing, all whispering, all evil-speaking, that is, re- 
peating the faults of absent persons ; for none would have 
others repeat his faults when he is absent. Now how few 
are there, even among believers, who are in no degree guilty 
of ihis ; who steadily observe the good old rule, " Of the dead 
and the absent, — nothing but good ! " And suppose they do, 
do they likewise abstain from unprofitable cmiwrxation ? Yet 
all this is unquestionably sinful, and " grieves the Holy Spirit 
of God : " yea, and " for every idle word that men shall speak, 
they shall give an account in the day of judgment." 

12. But let it be supposed, that they continually " watch 
and pray," and so do " not enter into " this " temptation ; " 
that they constantly set a watch before their mouth, and keep 
the door of their lips; suppose they exercise themselves 
herein, that all their " conversation may be in grace, seasoned 
with salt, and meet to minister grace to the hearers : " yet do 
; they not daily slide into useless discourse, notwithstanding all 
their caution ? And even when they endeavour to speak for 
God, are their words pure, free from unholy mixtures ? Do 
they find nothing wrong in their very intention ? Do they 
speak merely to please God, and not partly to please them- 
selves ? Is it wholly to do the will of God, and not their own 


•will also ? Or, if they begin with a single eye, do they go on 
" looking unto Jesus," and talking with Him all the time they 
are talking with their neighbour ? When they are reproving 
sin, do they feel no anger or unkind temper to the sinner ? 
When they are instructing the ignorant, do they not find any 
pride, any self -preference ? When they are comforting the 
afflicted, or provoking one another to love and to good works, 
do they never perceive any inward self-commendation : " Now 
you have spoke well ? " Or any vanity, — a desire that others 
should think so, and esteem them on the account ? In some 
or all of these respects, how much sin cleaves to the best 
conversation even of believers ! The conviction of which is 
another branch of the repentance which belongs to them that 
are justified. 

13. And how much sin, if their conscience is throughly 
awake, may they find cleaving to their actions also ! Nay, are 
there not many of these, which, though they are such as the 
world would not condemn, yet cannot be commended, no, nor 
excused, if we judge by the word of God ? Are there not 
many of their actions which, they themselves know, are not to 
the glory of God ? many, wherein they did not even aim at 
this ; which were not undertaken with an eye to God ? And 
of those that were, are there not many, wherein their eye is 
not singly fixed on God ? wherein they are doing their own 
will, at least as much as His ; and seeking to please themselves 
as much, if not more than to please God ? — And while they 
are endeavouring to do good to their neighbour, do they not 
feel wrong tempers of various kinds ? Hence their good 
actions, so called, are far from being strictly such ; being 
polluted with such a mixture of evil : such are their works of 
mercy. And is there not the same mixture in their works of 
piety ? While they are hearing the word which is able to save 
their souls, do they not frequently find such thoughts as make 
them afraid lest it should turn to their condemnation, rather 
lhan their salvation ? Is it not often the same case, while 
Ihey are endeavouring to offer up their prayers to God, 
Ivhether in public or private ? Nay, while they are engaged 
Jn the most solemn service, even while they are at the table of 


the Lord, what maimer of thoughts arise in them! Are not 
their hearts sometimes wandering to the ends of the earth ; 
sometimes filled with such imaginations, as make them fear 
lest all their sacrifice should be an abomination to the Lord ? 
So that they are now more ashamed of their best duties, than 
they were once of their worst sins. 

14. Again : how many sins of omission are they chargeable 
with ! We know the words of the Apostle : " To him that 
knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." But 
do they not know a thousand instances, wherein they might 
have done good, to enemies, to strangers, to their brethren, 
either with regard to their bodies or their souls, and they 
did it not ? How many omissions have they been guilty of, 
in their duty toward God ! How many opportunities of com- 
municating, of hearing His word, of public or private pi-ayer, 
have they neglected ! So great reason had even that holy 
man, Archbishop Usher, after all his labours for God, to cry 
but, almost with his dying breath, " Lord, forgive me my sins 
of omission ! " 

1$. But besides these outward omissions, may they not 
find in themselves inward defects without number ? defects of 
every kind : they have not the love, the fear, the confidence 
they ought to have, toward God. They have not the love 
which is due to their neighbour, to every child of man ; no, 
nor even that which is due to their brethren, to every child of 
God, whether those that are at a distance from them, or those 
with whom they are immediately connected. They have no 
holy temper in the degree they ought ; they are defective m 
everything ; — in a deep consciousness of which they are ready 
to cry out, with M. De Renty, "lama ground all overrun 
with thorns ; " or, with Job, " I am vile : I abhor myself, 
and repent as in dust and ashes." 

16. A conviction of their guiltiness is another branch of 
that repentance which belongs to the children of God. But 
this is cautiously to be understood, and in a peculiar sense. 
For it is certain, " there is no condemnation to them that are 
in Christ Jesus," that believe in Him, and, in the power of 
that faith, " walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" 



Yet can they no more bear the strict justice of God now, than 
before they believed. This prononnces them to be still worthy 
of death, on all the preceding accounts. And it would abso- 
lutely condemn them thereto, were it not for the atoning 
blood. Therefore they are thoroughly convinced, that they 
still deserve punishment, although it is hereby turned aside 
from them. But here there are extremes on one hand and on 
the other, and few steer clear of them. Most men strike on 
one or the other, either thinking themselves condemned whep. 
they are not, or thinking they deserve to be acquitted. Nay, 
the truth lies between : they still deserve, strictly speaking, 
only the' damnation of hell. But what they deserve does not 
come upon them, because they "have an Advocate with the 
Father." His life, and death, and intercession still interpose 
between them and condemnation. 

17. A conviction of their utter helplessness is yet another 
branch of this repentance. I mean hereby two things : first, 
that they are no more able now of themselves to think one 

»good thought, to form one good desire, to speak one good 
word, or do one good work, than before they were justified ; 
that they have still no kind or degree of strength of their 
own; no power either to do good, or resist evil ; no ability to 
conquer or even withstand the world, the devil, or their own 
evil nature. They can, it is certain, do all these things ; but 
it is not by their own strength. They have power to 
overcome all these enemies ; for " sin hath no more dominion 
over them : " but it is not from nature, either in whole or 
in part ; it is the mere gift of God : nor is it given all at 
once, as if they had a stock laid up for many years ; but 
from moment to moment. 

18. By this helplessness I mean, secondly, an absolute 
inability to deliver ourselves from that guiltiness or desert 
of punishment whereof we are still conscious ; yea, and an 
inability to remove, by all the grace we have, (to say nothing 
Of our natural powers,) either the pride, self-will, love of the 
world, anger, and general proneness to depart, from God 

-which we experimentally know to remain in the heart, even 
||ihem that are regenerate ; or the evii which, in spite of all 


our endeavours, cleaves to all our words and actions. Add to 
this, an utter inability wholly to avoid uncharitable, and, 
much, more, unprofitable, conversation : and an inability to 
avoid sins of omission, or to supply the numberless defects 
we are convinced of ; especially the want of love, and other 
right tempers both to God and man. 

19. If any man is not satisfied of this, if any believes that 
whoever is justified is able to remove these sins out of his 
heart and life, let him make the experiment. Let him try 
whether, by the grace he has already received, he can expel 
"pride, self-will, or inbred sin in general. Let him try whether 
he can cleanse his words and actions from all mixture of evil ; 
whether he can avoid all uncharitable and unprofitable con- 
versation, with all the sins of omission ; and, lastly, whether 
he can supply the numberless defects which he still finds in 
himself. Let him not be discouraged by one or two experi- 
ments, but repeat the trial again and again ; and the longer 
he tries, the more deeply will he be convinced of his utter 
'helplessness in all these respects. 

20. Indeed this is so evident a truth, that well nigh all the 
children of God, scattered abroad, however they differ in 
other points, yet generally agree in this ; — that although we 
may, " by the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body ; " resist 
and conquer both outward and inward sin ; although we may 
weaken our enemies day by day ; yet we cannot drive them out. 
By all the grace which is given at justification we cannot 
extirpate them. Though we watch and pray ever so much, 
we cannot wholly cleanse either our hearts or hands. Most 
sure we cannot, till it shall please our Lord to speak to our 
hearts again, to speak the second time, "Be clean :" and then 
only the leprosy is cleansed. Then only, the evil root, tho 
carnal mind, is destroyed ; and inbred sin subsists no more. 
But if there be no such second change, if there be no instan- 
taneous deliverance after justification, if there be none but a 
gradual work of God, (that there is a gradual work none 
denies,) then we must be content, as well as we can, to remain 
full of sin till death ; and, if so, we must remain guilty till 
death, continually deserving punishment. For it is impossible 


the guilfc, or desert of punishment, should he removed from 
us, as long as all this sin remains in our heart, and cleaves to 
our words and actions. Nay, in rigorous justice, all we think, 
and speak, and act, continually increases it. 

II. i. In this sense we are to repent, after we are justified. 
And till we do so, we can go no farther. For, till we are sen- 
sible of our disease, it admits of no cure. But, supposing we 
do thus repent, then are we called to " believe the Gospel." 

2. And this also is to be understood in a peculiar sense, 
different from that wherein we believed in order to justifi- 
cation. Believe the glad tidings of great salvation, which 
God hath prepared for all people. Believe that He who is 
" the brightness of His Father's glory, the express image of 
His person," is " able to save unto the uttermost all that 
come unto God through Him." He is able to save you from 
all the sin that still remains in your heart. He is able to 
save you from all the sin that cleaves to all your words and 
actions. He is able to save you from sins of omission, and 
to supply whatever is wanting in you. It is true, this is 
impossible with man ; but with God-Man all things are pos- 
sible. For what can be too hard for Him who hath " all 
power in heaven and in earth ? " Indeed His bare power to 
do this is not a sufficient foundation for our faith that He will 
do it, that He will thus exert His power, unless He hath pro- 
mised it. But this He has done : He has promised it over and 
over, in the strongest terms. He has given us these " exceed- 
ing great and precious promises," both in the Old and the 
New Testament. So we read in the law, in the most ancient 
part of the oracles of God, " The Lord thy God will circum- 
cise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul." (Deut. xxx- 
6.) So in the Psalms, " He shall redeem Israel," the Israel 
of God, " from all his sins." So in the Prophet, " Then will 
I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean : from 
all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 
And I will put My Spirit within you, and ye shall keep My 
judgments, and do them. I will also save you from all your 


uncleannesses." (Ezek. xxxvi. 25, &c.) So likewise in the 
New Testament, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for He 
hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an 
horn of salvation for us, — to perform the oath which He sware 
to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we 
being delivered out of the hands of our enemies should serve 
Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, 
all the days of our life." (Luke i. 68, <fec.) 

3. You have therefore good reason to believe, He is not 
only able, but willing to do this ; to cleanse you from all 
your filthiness of flesh and spirit : to " save you from all your 
uncleannesses." This is the thing which you now long for ; 
this is the faith which you now particularly need, namely, that 
the Great Physician, the lover of my soul, is willing to make 
me clean. But is He willing to do this to-morrow, or to-day ? 
Let Him answer for Himself : " To-day, if ye will hear " My 
"voice, harden not your hearts." If you put it off till to- 
morrow, you harden your hearts ; you refuse to hear His voice. 
Believe, therefore, that He is willing to save you to-day. He 
is willing to save you now. " Behold, now is the accepted 
time." He now saith, " Be thou clean ! " Only believe, and 
you also will immediately find, " all things are possible to him 
that believeth." 

4. Continue to believe in Him that loved thee, and gave 
Himself for thee ; that bore all thy sins in His own body on the 
tree ; and He saveth thee from all condemnation, by His blood 
continually applied. Thus it is that we continue in a justified 
state. And when we go on "from faith to faith," when we 
have faith to be cleansed from indwelling sin, to be saved 
from all our uncleannesses, we are likewise saved from all 
that guilt, that desert of punishment, which we felt before. 
So that then we may say, not only, 

" Every moment, Lord, 1 want 
The merit of Thy death ; " 

but, likewise, in the full assurance of faith, 

" Every moment, Lord, I have 
The merit of Thy death I " 


For, by that faith, in His life, death, and intercessioniop. ua fl 
renewed from moment to moment, we are every whitj clean 
and there is not only now no condemnation for ns, but^ncj 
snch desert of punishment as was before, the Lord cleansing, 
both our hearts and lives. 

5. By the same faith we feel the power of Christ every, 
moment resting upon, us, whereby alone we are what we are ; 
whereby we are enabled to continue in spiritual life, and 
without which, notwithstanding all our present holiness, we 
should be devils the next moment. But as long as we retain, 
our faith in Him, we " draw water out of the wells of salya 7 
tion." Leaning on our Beloved, even Christ in us the hope 
of glory, who dwelleth in our hearts by faith, who likewise is 
ever interceding for us at the right hand of God, we receive 
help from Him, to think, and speak, and act, what is accept, 
able in His sight. Thus does He " prevent " them that beljievej 
in all their " doings, and further them with His continual 
help;" so that all their designs, conversations, and actions 
are " begun, continued, and ended in Him." Thus doth He 

v ' cleanse the thoughts of their hearts, by the inspiration of 
His Holy Spirit, that they may perfectly love Him, and 
worthily magnify His holy name." 

6. Thus it is, that in the children of God, repentance and 
faith exactly answer each other. By repentance we feel the 
sin remaining in our hearts, and cleaving to our words and 
actions : by faith, we receive the power of God in Christ, 
purifying our hearts, and cleansing our hands. By repent- 
ance, we are still sensible that wes deserve punishment for all 
our tempers, and words and actions : by faith, we are conscious 
that our Advocate with the Father is continually pleading f 01 
us, and thereby continually turning aside all condemnation 
and punishment from us. By repentance we have an abiding 
conviction that there is no help in us : by faith we receive nol 
only mercy, "but grace to help in" evety "time of need.' 
Repentance disclaims the very possibility of any other help 
faith accepts all the help we stand in need of, from Him 
that hath all power in heaven and earth. Repentance says, 
" Without Him I can do nothing : " faith says, " I can do all 


things through Christ strengthening me." Through Him I 
can riot only overcome, but expel, all the enemies of my soul. 
Through Him I can "love the Lord my God with all my 
heart, mind, soul, and strength ; " yea, and " walk in holiness 
and righteousness before Him all the days of my life." 

HI. l. From what has been said we may easily learn the 
mischievousness of that opinion, — that we are wholly Sanctis 
fied when we are justified ; that our hearts are then cleansed 
from all sin. It is true, we are then delivered, as was observed 
Before, from the dominion of outward sin ; and, at the . same 
time, the power of inward sin is so broken, that we need no 
longer follow, or be led by, it: but it is by no means true, 
that inward sin is then totally destroyed ; that the root of 
pride, self-will, anger, love of the world, is then taken, out of 
the heart ; or that the carnal mind, and the heart bent to 
backsliding, are entirely extirpated. And to suppose the 
contrary is not, as some may think, an innocent harmless mis- 
take. No : it does immense harm : it entirely blocks up the 
way to any farther change ; for it is manifest, " they that 
are whole need not a Physician, but they that are sick." If, 
therefore, we think we are quite made whole already, there is 
no room to seek any farther healing. On this supposition it 
iS absurd to expect a farther deliverance from sin, whether 
gradual or instantaneous. 

a. On the contrary, a deep conviction that we are not yet 
whole; that our hearts are not fully purified ; that there is 
yet in us a "carnal mind," which is still in its nature "enmity 
against God ; " that a whole body of sin remains in our heart, 
weakened indeed, but not destroyed ; shows, beyond all pos- 
sibility of doubt, the absolute necessity of a farther change. 
We allow, that at the very moment of justification, we are 
lorn again : in that instant we experience that inward change 
from " darkness into marvellous light ; " from the image of 
the brute and the devil, into the image of God ; from the 
earthly, sensual, devilish mind, to the mind which was in 
Christ Jesus. But are we then entirely changed ? Are we 
wholly transformed into the image of Him that created us ? 


Far from it : we still retain a depth of sin ; and it is the 
consciousness of this which constrains us to groan, for a full 
deliverance, to Him that is mighty to save. Hence it is, 
that those believers who are not convinced of the deep cor- 
ruption of their hearts, or but slightly, and, as it were, 
notionally convinced, have little concern about entire sancti- 
fication. They may possibly hold the opinion, that such a 
thing is to be, either at death, or some time they know not 
when, before it. But they have no great uneasiness for the 
want of it, and no great hunger or thirst after it. They 
cannot, until they know themselves better, until they repent 
in the sense above described, until God unveils the inbred 
monster's face, and shows them the real state of their souls. 
Then only, when they feel the burden, will they groan for de- 
liverance from it. Then, and not till then, will they cry out, 
in the agony of their soul, 

" Break off the yoke of inbred sin, 
And fully set my spirit free 1 
I cannot rest till pure within, 
Till I am wholly lost in Thee." 

3. We may learn from hence, secondly, that a deep con- 
viction of our demerit, after we are accepted, (which in one 
sense may be termed guilt,) is absolutely necessary, in order, 
to our seeing the true value of the atoning blood ; in order to 
our feeling that we need this as much, after we are justified, 
as ever we did before. Without this conviction, we cannot 
but account the blood of the covenant as a common thing, 
something of which we have not now any great need, seeing 
all our past sins are blotted out. Tea, but if both our hearts 
and lives are thus unclean, there is a kind of guilt which we 
are contracting every moment, and which, of consequence, 
would every moment expose us to fresh condemnation, but 

" He ever lives above, 

For us to intercede, — 
His all-atoning love, 

His precious blood, to plead." 


It is this repentance, and the faith intimately connected with 
it, which are expressed in those strong lines, — 

" I sin in every breath I draw, 
Nor do Thy will, not keep Thy law 

On earth, as angels do above : 
But still the fountain open stands, 
Washes my feet, my heart, my hands, 

Till I am perfected in love." 

4. We may observe, thirdly, a deep conviction of onr utter 
helplessness, of our total inability to retain anything we have 
received, much more to deliver ourselves from the world of 
iniquity remaining both in our hearts and lives, teaches us 
truly to live upon Christ by faith, not only as our Priest, but 
as our King. Hereby we are brought to " magnify Him," 
indeed ; to " give Him all the glory of His grace; " to " make 
Him a whole Christ, an entire Saviour ; and truly to set the 
crown upon His head." These excellent words, as they have 
frequently been used, have little or no meaning; but they are 
fulfilled in a strong and deep sense, when we thus, as it were, 
go out of ourselves, in order to be swallowed up in Him ; 
when we sink into nothing, that He may be all in all. Then, 
His almighty grace having abolished " every high thing 
which exalted itself against Him," every temper, and 
thought, and word, and work " is brought to the obedience 
of Christ." 

Londonderry, April 24, 1767. 

Does sin remain altogether powerless in the justified soul ; without afc 
all affecting his actions or words. 

" As sin remains in our hearts, so it cleaves to all our words an<l 
actions," etc. — Sec. I. 11. 

Is the intention of a justified person always pure ? 

No. Sec 1. 12. 
What is Wesley's summary description of the repentance of believers ? 

"They are now more ashamed of their best duties than they 

were once of their worst sins." 



What is implied in the repentance of believers 1 What are its elements ? 
See Sec. 1. 16, 17, 18. 

Is it possible that the very being of sin should be destroyed 1 Have we 
Scripture-warrant to pray that it may, and to expect that it shall 1 
Assuredly. Sec. II. 2, 3. 

Meanwhile, what conies between the believer and condemnation, undei 
the sense of conscious desert of punishment 1 
" The merit of Christ's death."— Sec. II. 1. 

What especial practical deduction does Wesley make from the fact of 
sin in, and the repentance of, believers 1 
" The absolute necessity of a further change." 

What does indifference " about entire sanctification " indicate ? 

Imperfect conviction of the " deep corruption " of the heart. — Sec. 
III. 2. 

What further incalculable evil results from insensibility to the strength 
of corruption within us even after justification 1 
Depreciation of the blood of Christ, and of His intercession. — Sec. 
III. 3. 



" Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth. 

" Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : 

for they shall be filled. 
" Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy." 

Matt. v. 5 — 7. 

II. WHEN "the winter is past," when "the time of 
. singing is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard 
in the land ; " when He that comforts the mourners is now 
returned, " that He may abide with them for ever ; " when, 
at the brightness of His presence, the clouds disperse, the 
dark clouds of doubt and uncertainty, the storms of fear flee 
away, the waves of sorrow subside, and their spirit again 
rejoiceth in God their Saviour ; then is it that this word is 
eminently fulfilled ; then those whom He hath comforted can 
bear witness, " Blessed," or happy, " are the meek ; for they 
shall inherit the earth." 

2. But who are " the meek ? " Not those who grieve at 
nothing, because they know nothing; who are not discom- 
posed at the evils that occur, because they discern not evil 
from good. Not those who are sheltered from the shocke 
of life by a stupid insensibility ; who have, either by nature 
or art, the virtue of stocks and stones, and resent nothing, 
because they feel nothing. Brute philosophers are wholly 
Unconcerned in this matter. Apathy is as far from meekness 
as from humanity. So that one would not easily conceive 
how any Christians of the purer ages, especially any of the 
Fathers of the Church, could confound these, and mistake 

K 2 


one of the foulest errors of Heathenism for a branch of true 

3. Nor does Christian meekness imply, the being without 
zeal for God, any more than it does ignorance or insensibility. 
T$o ; it keeps clear of every extreme, whether in excess or 
defect. It does not destroy but balance the affections, which 
the God of nature never designed should be rooted out by grace, 
but only brought and kept under due regulations. It poises 
the mind aright. It holds an even scale, with regard to anger, 
and sorrow, and fear ; preserving the mean in every circum- 
stance of life, and not declining either to the right hand or 
the left. 

4. Meekness, therefore, seems properly to relate to our- 
selves : but it may be referred either to God or our neigh- 
bour. When this due composure of mind has reference to 
God, it is usually termed "resignation;" a calm acquiescence 
in whatsoever is His will concerning us, even though it may 
not be pleasing to nature ; saying continually, " It is the 
Lord ; let Him do what seemeth Him good." When we 
consider it more strictly with regard to ourselves, we style 
it "patience " or " eontentedness." When it is exerted toward 
other men, then it is " mildness " to the good, and " gentle- 
ness " to the evil. 

5. They who are truly meek can clearly discern what is 
evil ; and they can also suffer it. They are sensible of every- 
thing of this kind, but still meekness holds the reins. They 
are exceeding " zealous for the Lord of Hosts ; " but their zeal 
is always guidedby knowledge, and tempered, in every thought, 
and word, and work, with the love of man, as well as the love 
of God. They do not desire to extinguish any of the passions 
which God has for wise ends implanted in their nature ; but 
they have the mastery of all : they hold them all in subjection, 
and employ them only in subservience to those ends. And 
thus even the harsher and more unpleasing passions are 
applicable to the noblest purposes ; even hatred, and anger, 
and fear, when engaged against sin, and regulated by faith 
and love, are as walls and bulwarks to the soul, so that the 
wicked one cannot approach to hurt it. 


6. It is evident, this divine temper is not only to abide 
but to increase in us day by day. Occasions of exercising, and 
thereby increasing it, will never be wanting while we remain 
upon earth. " We have need of patience, that after we have 
done " and suffered " the will of God, we may receive the pro- 
mise." We have need of resignation, that we may in all cir- 
cumstances say, " Not as I will, but as Thou wilt." And we 
have need of " gentleness toward all men ; " but especially 
toward the evil and unthankful : otherwise we shall be over- 
come of evil, instead of overcoming evil with good. 

7. Nor does meekness restrain only the outward act, as 
the Scribes and Pharisees taught of old, and the miserable 
Teachers who are not taught of God will not fail to do in all 
ages. Our Lord guards against this, and shows the true 
extent of it, in the following woi'ds : " Ye have heard that 
it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill ; and 
whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment : " 
(Matt. v. 21, &c. :) " But I say unto you, That whosoever is 
angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of 
the judgment : and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, 
shall be in danger of the council : but whosoever shall say, 
Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire." 

8. Our Lord here ranks under the head of murder, even 
that anger which goes no farther than the heart ; which does 
not show itself by any outward unkindness, no, not so much 
as a passionate word. " Whosoever is angry with his brother," 
with any man living, seeing we are all brethren ; whosoever 
feels any unkindness in his heart, any temper contrary to love ; 
whosoever is angry without a cause, without a sufficient cause, 
or farther than that cause requires, "shall be in danger of the 
judgment ; " evoxoe t'orat ; shall, in that moment, be obnoxious 
to the righteous judgment of God. 

But would not one be inclined to prefer the reading of 
those copies which omit the word titer}, without a cause ? la 
it not entirely superfluous ? For if anger at persons be a 
temper contrary to love, how can there be a cause, a suffi- 
cient cause for it, — any that will justify it in the sight of 


Anger at sin we allow. In this sense we may be angry, 
and yet we sin not. In this sense onr Lord Himself is once 
recorded to have been angry : " He looked ronnd about upon 
them with anger, being grievedfor the hardness of their hearts." 
H« was grieved at the sinners, and angry at the sin. And 
this is undoubtedly right before God. 

9. " And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca;" — 
whosoever shall give way to anger, so as to utter any con- 
temptuous word. It is observed by commentators, that Raca 
is a Syriac word, which properly signifies, empty, vain, foolish; 
so that it is as inoffensive an expression as can well be used,. 
toward one at whom we are displeased. And yet, whosoever 
shall use this, as our Lord assures us, " shall be in danger 
of the council ; " rather, shall be obnoxious thereto : he shall 
be liable to a severer sentence from the Judge of all the 

" But whosoever shall say, Thou fool ; " — whosoever shall 
«o give place to the devil, as to break out into reviling, into 
designedly reproachful and contumelious language, " shall be 
obnoxious to hell-fire ; " shall, in that instant, be liable to the 
highest condemnation. It should be observed, that our Lord 
describes all these as obnoxious to capital punishment. The 
first, to strangling, usually inflicted on those who were con- 
demned in one of the inferior courts ; the second, to stoning, 
which was frequently inflicted on those who were condemned 
by the great Council of Jerusalem ; the third, to burning alive, 
inflicted only on the highest offenders, in the " valley of the 
sons of Hinnom ; " Fal 'Evybfi, from which that word is evi- 
dently taken which we translate " hell." 

10. And whereas men naturally imagine, that God will 
excuse their defect in some duties, for their exactness in 
others ; our Lord next takes care to cut off that vain, though 
common imagination. He shows, that it is impossible for any 
sinner to commute with God ; who will not accept one duty 
for another, nor take a part of obedience for the whole. He 
warns us, that the performing our duty to God will not excuse 
us from our duty to our neighbour; that works of piety, as they 
are called, will be so far from commending us to God, if we 


are -wanting in charity, that, on the contrary, that want of 
charity will make all those works an abomination to the 

" Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there 
rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee," — on 
account of thy unkind behaviour toward him, of thy calling 
him, " Raca," or, " Thou fool ; " think not that thy gift will 
atone for thy anger ; or that it will find any acceptance with 
God, so long as thy conscience is defiled with the guilt of 
nnrepented sin. " Leave there thy gift before the altar, and 
go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother," (at least do 
all that in thee lies toward being reconciled,) " and then come 
and offer thy gift." (Matt. v. 23, 24.) 

1 i . And let there be no delay in what so nearly concern- 
eth thy soul. " Agree with thine adversary quickly ; " — now; 
upon the spot ; " whiles thou art in the way with him ; " if it 
be possible, before he go out of thy sight ; " lest at any time 
the adversary deliver thee to the judge ; " lest he appeal to 
God the Judge of all ; " and the judge deliver thee to the 
officer," to Satan, the executioner of the wrath of God; "and 
thou be cast into prison," into hell, there to be reserved to the 
judgment of the great day. " Verily I say unto thee, Thou 
shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the 
uttermost farthing." But this it is impossible for thee ever 
to do : seeing thou hast nothing to pay. Therefore, if thou 
art once in that prison, the smoke of thy torment must 
" ascend up for ever and ever." 

ia. Meantime "the meek shall inherit the earth." Such 
is the foolishness of worldly wisdom ! The wise of the world 
had warned them again and again, — that if they did not 
resent such treatment, if they would tamely suffer themselves 
to be thus abused, there would be no living for them upon 
earth ; that they would never be able to procure the common 
necessaries of life, nor to keep even what they had ; that they 
could expect no peace, no quiet possession, no enjoyment of 
anything. Most true, — suppose there were no God in the 
world ; or suppose He did not concern Himself with the chil- 
dren of men: but, " when God ariseth to judgment, and to 


help all the meek upon earth," how doth He laugh all this 
heathen wisdom to scorn, and turn the " fierceness of man 
to His praise ! " He takes a peculiar care to provide them with 
all things needful for life and godliness ; He secures to them 
the provision He hath made, in spite of the force, fraud, or 
malice of men ; and what He secures He gives them richly 
to enjoy. It is sweet to them, be it little or much. As in 
patience they possess their souls, so they truly possess what- 
ever God hath given them. They are always content, 
always pleased with what they have : it pleases them, be- 
cause it pleases God : so that while their heart, their desire, 
their joy is in heaven, they may truly be said to " inherit 
the earth." 

j 3. But there seems to be a yet farther meaning in these 
words, even that they shall have a more eminent part in "the 
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness ; " in that inherit- 
ance, a general description of which (and the particulars we 
shall know hereafter) St. John hath given in the twentieth 
chapter of the Revelation : " And I saw an angel come down 
from heaven, — and he laid hold on the dragon; that old ser- 
pent, — and bound him a thousand years. — And I saw the souls 
of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for 
the word of God, and of them which had not worshipped the 
beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon 
their foreheads, or in their hands ; and they lived and reigned 
with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived 
not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the 
first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in 
the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no 
power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and 
shall reign with Him a thousand years." 

II. 1. Our Lord has hitherto been more immediately em- 
ployed in removing the hinderances of true religion : such is 
pride, the first grand hinderance of all religion, which is 
taken away by poverty of spirit ; levity and thoughtlessness, 
which prevent any religion from taking root in the soul till 
they are removed by holy mourning : such are anger, impa- 


tience, discontent, which are all healed by Christian meekness 
And when once these hinderances are removed, these evil 
diseases of the soul, which were continually raising false 
cravings therein, and filling it with sickly appetites, the 
native appetite of a heaven-born spirit returns ; it hungers 
and thirsts after righteousness : and "blessed are they which 
do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be 

2. Righteousness, as was observed before, is the image of 
God, the mind which was in Christ Jesus. It is every holy 
and heavenly temper in one ; springing from, as well as ter- 
minating in, the love of God, as our Father and Redeemer, 
and the love of all men for His sake. 

3. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after" 
this : in order fully to understand which expression, we should 
observe, first, that hunger and thirst are the strongest of all 
our bodily appetites. In like manner this hunger in the soul, 
this thirst after the image of God, is the strongest of all our 
spiritual appetites, when it is once awakened in the heart ; 
yea, it swallows up all the rest in that one great desire, — to be 
renewed after the likeness of Him that created us. We 
should, secondly, observe, that from the time we begin to 
hunger and thirst, those appetites do not cease, but are more 
and more craving and importunate, till we either eat and 
drink, or die. And even so, from the time that we begin to 
hunger and thirst after the whole mind which was in Christ, 
these spiritual appetites do not cease, but cry after their food 
with more and more importunity ; nor can they possibly cease, 
before they are satisfied, while there is any spiritual life re- 
maining. We may, thirdly, observe, that hunger and thirst 
are satisfied with nothing but meat and drink. If you would 
give to him that is hungry all the world beside, all the elegance 
of apparel, all the trappings of state, all the treasure upon 
earth, yea, thousands of gold and silver ; if you would pay 
him ever so much honour ; — he regards it not : all these things 
are then of no account with him. He would still say, " These 
are not the things I want : give me food, or else I die." The 
very same is the case with every soul that truly hungers a»d 


thirsts after righteousness. He can find no comfort in any- 
thing but this : he can be satisfied with nothing else. What- 
ever you offer besides, it is lightly esteemed : whether it he 
riches, or honour, or pleasure, he still says, " This is not the 
thing which I want ! Give me love, or else I die ! " 

4. And it is as impossible to satisfy such a soul, a soul 
that is athirst for God, the living God, with what the world 
accounts religion, as with what they account happiness. The 
religion of the world implies three things 4 (1.) The doing no 
harm, the abstaining from outward sin ; at least from such 
as is scandalous, as robbery, theft, common swearing, drunken- 
ness : (2.) The doing good, the relieving the poor ; the being 
charitable, as it is called : (3.) The using the means of grace.: 
at least the going to church and to the Lord's supper. He in 
whom these three marks are found is termed by the world " a 
religious man." But will this satisfy him who hungers after 
God ? No : it is not food for his soul. He wants a religion of 
a nobler kind, a religion higher and deeper than this. He 
can no more feed on this poor, shallow, formal thing, than he 
can " fill his belly with the east wind." True, he is careful- 
to abstain from the very appearance of evil ; he is zealous of 
good works ; he attends all the ordinances of God : but all 
this is not what he longs for. This is only the outside of 
that religion which he insatiably hungers after. The know?; 
ledge of God in Christ Jesus ; " the life which is hid with 
Christ in God ; " the being " joined unto the Lord in one 
spirit;" the having "fellowship with the Father and the 
Son; " the " walking in the light as God is in the light ; " 
the being " purified even as He is pure ; " — -this is the religion, 
the righteousness he thirsts after ; nor can he rest, till he 
thus rests in God. 

5. " Blessed are they who " thus " hunger and thirst after 
righteousness; for they shall be filled." They shall be 
filled with the things which they long for ; even with right- 
eousness and true holiness. God shall satisfy them with the 
blessings of His goodness, with the felicity of His chosen. 
He shall feed them with the bread of heaven, with the manna 
pf His love. He shall give them to drink of His pleasures. 


as out of the river, -which he that drinketh of shall never 
thirst, only for more and more of the water of life. This 
thirst shall endure for ever. 

" The painful thirst, the fond desire, 
Thy joyous presence shall remove : 
But my full soul shall still require 
A whole eternity of love." 

6. Whosoever then thou art, to whom God hath given to 
" hunger and thirst after righteousness," cry unto Him that 
thou mayest never lose that inestimable gift, — that this 
divine appetite may never cease. If many rebuke thee, and 
bid thee hold thy peace, regard them not ; yea, cry so much 
the more, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on me ! " "Let me 
not live, but to be holy as Thou art holy ! " No more " spend 
thy money for that which is not bread, nor thy labour for 
that which satisfieth not." Canst thou hope to dig happi- 
ness out of the earth, — to find it in the things of the world ? 
trample under foot all its pleasures, despise its honours, 
count its riches as dung and dross, — yea, and all the things 
which are beneath the sun, — " for the excellency of the know- 
ledge of Christ Jesus," for the entire renewal of thy soul in 
that image of God wherein it was originally created. Beware 
of quenching that blessed hunger and thirst, by what the 
world calls " religion; " a religion of form, of outside show, 
which leaves the heart as earthly and sensual as ever. Let 
nothing satisfy thee but the power of godliness, but a religion 
that is spirit and life ; thy dwelling in God, and God in thee, 
— the being an inhabitant of eternity ; the entering in by 
the blood of sprinkling "within the veil," and sitting "in 
heavenly places with Christ Jesus." 

III. i . And the more they are filled with the life of God, 
the more tenderly will they be concerned for those who are 
still without God in the world, still dead in trespasses and 
sins. Nor shall this concern for others lose its rewai-d. 
" Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy." 

The word used by our Lord more immediately implies 


the compassionate, the tender-hearted ; those who, far from 
despising, earnestly grieve for, those that do not hunger 
after God. 

This eminent part of brotherly love is here, by a common 
figure, put for the whole ; so that "the merciful," in the full 
sense of the term, are they who love their neighbours as 

2. Because of the vast importance of this love, — without 
which, " though we spake with the tongues of men and 
angels, though we had the gift of prophecy, and understood 
all mysteries, and all knowledge ; though we had all faith, so 
as to remove mountains ; yea, though we gave all our goods 
to feed the poor, and our very bodies to be burned, it would 
profit us nothing," — the wisdom of God has given us, by the 
Apostle Paul, a full and particular account of it ; by con- 
sidering which we shall most clearly discern who are the 
merciful that shall obtain mercy. 

3. "Charity," or love, (as it were to be wished it had 
been rendered throughout, being a far plainer and less am- 
biguous word,) the love of our neighbour as Christ hath loved 
us, " suffereth long ; " is patient toward all men : it suffers 
all the weakness, ignorance, errors, infirmities, all the fro- 
wardness and littleness of faith, of the children of God ; all 
the malice and wickedness of the children of the world. And 
it suffers all this, not only for a time, for a short season, but 
to the end ; still feeding our enemy when he hungers ; if he 
thirst, still giving him drink ; thus continually " heaping 
coals of fire," of melting love, " upon his head." 

4. And in every step toward this desirable end, the 
" overcoming evil with good," " love is kind : " (xpijoreuerot, a 
word not easily translated :) it is soft, mild, benign. It stands 
at the utmost distance from moroseness, from all harshness 
or sourness of spirit ; and inspires the sufferer at once with 
the most amiable sweetness, and the .most fervent and tender 

5. Consequently, " love envieth not : " it is impossible it 
should ; it is directly opposite to that baneful temper. It 
cannot be, that he who has this tender affection to all who 


earnestly wishes all temporal and spiritual blessings, all good 
things in this world and the world to come, to every soul 
that God hath made, should be pained at His bestowing any 
good gift on any child of man. If he has himself received 
the same, he does not grieve, but rejoice, that another par- 
takes of the common benefit. If he has not, he blesses God 
that his brother at least has, and is herein happier than 
himself. And the greater his love, the more does he rejoice 
in the blessings of all mankind ; the farther is he removed 
from every kind and degree of envy toward any creature. 

6. Love ov ireptcepeverai, — not " vaunteth not itself ; " 
which coincides with the very next word ; but rather, (as 
the word likewise properly imports,) is not rash or hasty in 
judging ; it will not hastily condemn any one. It does not 
pass a severe sentence, on a slight or sudden view of things : 
it first weighs all the evidence, particularly that which is 
brought in favour of the accused. A true lover of his neigh- 
bour is not like the generality of men, who, even in cases of 
the nicest nature, " see a little, presume a great deal, and so 
jump to the conclusion." No : he proceeds with wariness 
and circumspection, taking heed to every step ; willingly sub- 
scribing to that rule of the ancient Heathen, (0 where will 
the modern Christian appear !) " I am so far from lightly 
believing what one man says against another, that I will 
not easily believe what a man says against himself. I will 
always allow him second thoughts, and many times counsel 

7. It follows, love " is not puffed up : " it does not incline 
or suffer any man " to think more highly of himself than he 
ought to think ; " but rather to think soberly : yea, it humbles 
the soul unto the dust. It destroys all high conceits engen- 
dering pride ; and makes us rejoice to be as nothing, to be 
little and vile, the lowest of all, the servant of all. They 
who are " kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly 
love," cannot but " in honour prefer one another." Those 
who, having the same love, are of one accord, do in lowliness 
of mind " each esteem other better than themselves." 

8. " It doth not behave itself unseemly : " it is not rude, 


or willingly offensive to any. It " renders to all their due ; 
fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour;" courtesy, 
civility, humanity to all the world ; in their several degrees 
" honouring all men." A late writer defines good breeding, 
nay, the highest degree of it, politeness, " A continual desire 
to please, appearing in all the behaviour." But if so, there 
is none so well bred as a Christian, a lover of all mankind. 
For he cannot but desire to " please all men for their good to 
edification : " and this desire cannot be hid ; it will neces- 
sarily appear in all his intercourse with men. For his " love 
is without dissimulation: " it will appear in all his actions 
and conversation; yea, and will constrain him, though with- 
out guile, " to become all things to all men, if by any means 
he may save some." 

9. And in becoming all things to all men, " love seeketh 
not her own." In striving to please all men, the lover of 
mankind has no eye at all to his own temporal advantage. 
He covets no man's silver, or gold, or apparel : he desires 
nothing but the salvation of their souls : yea, in some sense, he 
may be said, not to seek his own spiritual, any more than tem- 
poral, advantage ; for while he is on the full stretch to save 
their souls from death, he, as it were, forgets himself. He 
does not think of himself, so long as that zeal for the glory of 
God swallows him up. Nay, at some times he may almost 
seem, through an excess of love, to give up himself, both his 
soul and his body ; while he cries out, with Moses, " 0, this 
people have sinned a great sin ; yet now, if Thou wilt forgive 
their sin—; and if not, blot me out of the book which Thou 
hast written ; " (Exod. xxxii. 31, 32 ;)— or, with St. Paul, "I 
could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my 
brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." (JRomans 
ix. 3.) 

10. No marvel that such " love is not provoked : " ov 
irapo&VETai. Let it be observed, the word easily, strangely 
inserted in the translation, is not in the original : St. Paul's 
words are absolute. " Love is not provoked : " it is not pro- 
voked to unkmdness toward anyone. Occasions indeed will 
frequently occur ; outward provocations of various kinds ; but 


love does not yield to provocation ; it triumphs over all. In 
all trials it looketh unto Jesus, and is more than conqueror in 
His love. 

It is not improbable that our translators inserted that 
word, as it were, to excuse the Apostle ; who, as they supposed, 
might otherwise appear to be wanting in the very love which 
lie so beautifully describes. They seem to have supposed this 
from a phrase in the Acts of the Apostles, which is likewise 
very inaccurately translated. "When Paul and Barnabas dis- 
agreed concerning John, the translation runs thus, " And the 
contention was so sharp between them, that they departed 
asunder." (Acts xv. 39.) This naturally induces the reader 
to suppose, that they were equally sharp therein ; that St. 
Paul, who was undoubtedly right, with regard to the point in 
question, (it being quite improper to take John with them 
again, who had deserted them before,) was as much provoked 
as Barnabas, who gave such a proof of his anger, as to leave 
the work for which he had been set apart by the Holy Ghost. 
But the original imports no such thing ; nor does it affirm 
that St. Paul was provoked at all. It simply says, "Syevero ovv 
irapo^vafioQ, — " And there was a sharpness," a paroxysm of 
anger ; in consequence of which Barnabas left St. Paul, took 
John, and went his own way. Paul then " chose Silas and 
departed, being recommended by the brethren to the grace of 
God ; " (which is not said concerning Barnabas ;) " and he 
went through Syria and Cilicia," as he had proposed, " con- 
firming the churches." But to return. 

ii. Love prevents a thousand provocations which would 
Otherwise arise, because it " thinketh no evil." Indeed the 
merciful man cannot avoid knowing many things that are 
evil ; he cannot but see them with his own eyes, and hear 
them with his own ears. For love does not put out his eyes, 
so that it is impossible for him not to see that such things are 
done ; neither does it take away his understanding, any more 
than his senses, so that he cannot but know that they are evil. 
For instance : when he sees a man strike his neighbour, or 
hears him blaspheme God, he cannot either question the thing 
done, or the words spoken, or doubt of their being evil : yet, 


oh Xoyi^erai rb kclkov. The word \oylferai, " thinketh," doe8 
not refer either to our seeing and hearing, or to the first and 
involuntary acts of our understanding ; but to our willingly 
thinking what we need not ; our inferring evil, where it does 
not appear ; to our reasoning concerning things which we do 
not see ; our supposing what we have neither seen nor heard. 
This is what true love absolutely destroys. It tears up, root 
and branch, all imagining what we have not known. It casts 
out all jealousies, all evil surmisings, all readiness to believe 
evil. It is frank, open, unsuspicious ; and, as it cannot design, 
so neither does it fear, evil. 

12. It "rejoiceth not in iniquity; " common as this is, 
even among those who bear the name of Christ, who scruplo 
not to rejoice over their enemy, when he falleth either into 
affliction, or error, or sin. Indeed, how hardly can they avoid 
this, who are zealously attached to any party ! How difficult 
is it for them not to be pleased with any fault which they dis- 
cover in those of the opposite party, — with any real or sup- 
posed blemish, either in their principles or practice ! What 
warm defender of any cause is clear of these ? Tea, who is so 
calm as to be altogether free ? Who does not rejoice when 
his adversary makes a false step, which he thinks will advan- 
tage his own cause ? Only a man of love. He alone weeps 
over either the sin or folly of his enemy, takes no pleasure in 
hearing or in repeating it, bat rather desires that it may be 
forgotten for ever. I 

13. But he "rejoiceth in the truth," wheresoever it is 
found ; in "the truth which is after godliness ; " bringing forth 
its proper fruit, — holiness of heart, and holiness of conversa- 
tion. He rejoices to find that even those who oppose him, 
whether with regard to opinions, or some points of practice, 
are nevertheless lovers of God, and in other respects unre- 
provable. He is glad to hear good of them, and to speak all 
he can consistently with truth and justice. Indeed, good in 
general is his glory and joy, wherever diffused throughout the 
race of mankind. As a citizen of the world he claims a share 
in the happiness of all the inhabitants of it. Because he is a 
man, he is not unconcerned in the welfare of any man ; but 


enjoys whatsoever brings glory to G-od, and promotes peace 
and good-will among men. 

i+. This " love covereth all things : " (so, without all 
doubt, iravra trreyei. should be translated; for otherwise it 
would be the very same with iravra inrofiivei, " endureth all 
things : ") because the merciful man rejoiceth not in iniquity, 
neither does he willingly make mention of it. Whatever evil 
he sees, hears, or knows, he nevertheless conceals, so far as he 
can without making himself " partaker of other men's sins." 
Wheresoever or with whomsoever he is, if he sees anything 
which he approves not, it goes not out of his lips, unless to 
the person concerned, if haply he may gain his brother. So 
far is he from making the faults or failings of others the 
matter of his conversation, that of the absent he never does 
speak at all, unless he can speak well. A talebearer, a back- 
biter, a whisperer, an evil-speaker, is to him all one as a mur- 
derer. He would just as soon cut his neighbour's throat, as 
thus murder his reputation. Just as soon would he think of 
diverting himself by setting fire to his neighbour's house, as 
of thus " scattering abroad arrows, fire-brands, and death," 
and saying, " Am I not in sport ? " 

He makes one only exception. Sometimes he is convinced 
that it is for the glory of God, or (which comes to the same) 
the good of his neighbour, that an evil should not be covered. 
In this case, for the benefit of the innocent, he is constrained 
to declare the guilty. But even here, (1.) He will not speak 
at all, till love, superior love, constrains him. (2.) He cannot 
do it from a general confused view of doing good, or pro- 
moting the glory of God, but from a clear sight of some par- 
ticular end, some determinate good, which he pursues. (3.) 
Still he cannot speak, unless he be fully convinced that this 
very means is necessary to that end ; that the end cannot be 
answered, at least not so effectually, by any other way. (4.) 
He then doeth it with the utmost sorrow and reluctance ; 
using it as the last and worst medicine, a desperate remedy in 
a desperate case, a kind of poison never to be used but to 
expel poison. Consequently, (5.) He uses it as sparingly as 
possible. And this he does with fear and trembling, lest he 


should transgress the law of love by speaking too much, more 
than he would have done by not speaking at all. 

15. Love " believeth all things." It is always willing to 
think the best ; to put the most favourable construction on 
everything. It is ever ready to believe whatever may tend to 
the advantage of any one's character. It is easily convinced 
of (what it earnestly desires) the innocence and integrity of 
any man ; or, at least, of the sincerity of his repentance, if he 
had once erred from the way. It is glad to excuse whatever 
is amiss ; to condemn the offender as little as possible ; and to 
make all the allowance for human weakness which can be done 
without betraying the truth of God. 

1 6. And when it can no longer believe, then love " hopeth 
all things." Is any evil related of any man ? Love hopes 
that the relation is not true, that the thing related was never 
done. Is it certain it was ? — " But perhaps it was not done 
with such circumstances as are related ; so that, allowing the 
fact, there is room to hope it was not so ill as it is repre- 
sented." Was^the action apparently undeniably evil ? Love 
hopes the intention was not so. Is it clear, the design was 
evil too ? — " Yet might it not spring from the settled temper 
of the heart, but from a start of passion, or from some vehe- 
ment temptation, which hurried the man beyond himself." 
And even when it cannot be doubted, but all the actions, de- 
signs, and tempers are equally evil ; still love hopes that God 
will at last make bare His arm, and get Himself the victory ; 
and that there shall be " joy in heaven over " this " one sin- 
ner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just 
persons that need no repentance." 

17. Lastly. It "endurethall things." This completes 
the character of him that is truly merciful. He endureth 
not some, not many, things only ; not most, but absolutely 
all things. Whatever the injustice, the malice, the cruelty 
of men can inflict, he is able to suffer. He calls nothing'in- 
tolerable ; he never says of anything, " This is not to be 
borne." No; he can not only do, but suffer, all things 
through Christ which strengthened him. And all he suffers 
does not destroy his love, nor impair it in the least. It is 


proof against all. It is a flame that burns even in the midst 
of the great deep. " Many waters cannot quench " his " love, 
neither can the floods drown it." It triumphs over all, It 
" never faileth," either in time or in eternity. 

" In obedience to what heaven decrees, 
Knowledge shall fail, and prophecy shall cease ; 
But lasting charity's more ample sway, 
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay, 
In happy triumph shall for ever live, 
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive." 

So shall " the merciful obtain mercy ; " not only by the 
blessing of God upon all their ways, by His now repaying 
the love they bear to their brethren a thousand-fold into their 
own bosom ; but likewise by " an exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory," in the " kingdom prepared for them from 
the beginning of the world." 

1 8. For a little while yon may say, "Woe is me, that I" 
am constrained to " dwell with Mesech, and to have my habi- 
tation among the tents of Kedar ! " You may pour out your 
soul, and bemoan the loss of true, genuine love in the earth : 
lost indeed ! You may well say, (but not in the ancient sense,) 
" See how these Ohristianslove one another ! " these Christian 
kingdoms, that are tearing out each other's bowels, desolating 
one another with fire and sword ! these Christian armies, that 
are sending each other by thousands, by ten thousands, quick 
into hell! these Christian nations, that are all on fire with 
intestine broils, party against party, faction against faction! 
these Christian cities, where deceit and fraud, oppression and 
wrong, yea robbery and murder, go not out of their streets ! 
these Christian families, torn asunder with envy, jealousy, 
anger, domestic jars, without number, without end! yea, 
what is most dreadful, most to be lamented of all, these 
Christian churches ! — churches (" tell it not in Gath," — but, 
alas ! how can we hide it, either from Jews, Turks, or 
Pagans ?) that bear the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace, 
and wage continual war with each other ! that convert sin- 
ners by burning them alive ! that are " drunk with the blood 
of the saints ! " — Does this praise belong only to " Babylon the 

l 2 


Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth ? " 
If ay, verily ; but Reformed churches (so called) have fairly 
learned to tread in her steps. Protestant churches too know 
to persecute, when they have power in their hands, even 
unto blood. And meanwhile, how do they also anathematize 
each other ! devote each other to the nethermost hell ! What 
wrath, what contention, what malice, what bitterness, is 
everywhere found among them, even where they agree in 
essentials, and only differ in opinions, or in the circumstan- 
tials of religion ! Who follows after only the " things that 
make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify 
another ?" God ! how long ? Shall Thy promise fail ? 
Pear it not, ye little flock! Against hope, believe in hope ! 
It is your Father's good pleasure yet to renew the face of the 
earth. Surely all these things shall come to an end, and the 
inhabitants of the earth shall learn righteousness. " Nation 
shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they know 
war any more." " The mountain of the Lord's house shall 
be established on the top of the mountains ; " and " all the 
kingdoms of the earth shall become the kingdoms of our 
God." " They shall not " then " hurt or destroy in all His 
holy mountain ; " but they shall call their " walls salvation, 
and their gates praise." They shall all be without spot or 
blemish, loving one another, even as Christ hath loved us.— 
Be thou part of the first-fruits, if the harvest is not yet. Do 
thou love thy neighbour as thyself. The Lord God fill thy 
heart with such a love to every soul, that thou mayest be 
ready to lay down thy life for his sake ! May thy soul con- 
tinually overflow with love, swallowing up every unkind and 
unholy temper, till He calleth thee up into the region of 
love, there to reign with Him for ever and ever ! 

Are "hatred, anger, and fear," in every case evil and mischievous ? 

" Even the harsher and more unpleasing passions are applicable to 
the noblest purposes, even hatred, anger, and fear, when ensured 
against sin," etc.— Sec. I. 5. 


What is ihe force of the expression " without a cause " I 
See Sec. I. 8. 

How does Wesley explain the three degrees of condemnation ? 
See Sec. I. 8, 9,10. 

What else besides worldly happiness is incapable of satisfying the soul ? 
" What the world accounts religion." 

What is Wesley's description of party-spirit 1 
See Sec. III. 12. 

How does he translate the passage rendered in the A. V, " Charity 
beareth all things" t 
See Sec. III. 14. 

What lines of Pope embody Wesley's idea of the meaning of this pas- 

" Teach me to feel another's woe, 
To hide the fault I see," etc. 

What is his description of the love that " hopeth all things " 1 
See Sec. III. 16. 

Is there any limit to the endurance of " charity " ? 
See Sec. III. 17 


" Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and 
just, and good." Rom. vii. 12. 

PERHAPS there are few subjects within the whole com- 
pass of religion so little understood as this. The reader 
of this Epistle is usually told, by " the law " St. Paul means 
the Jewish law ; and so, apprehending himself to have no 
concern therewith, passes on without farther thought about 
it. Indeed some are not satisfied with this account ; but 
observing the Epistle is directed to the Eomans, thence infer 
that the Apostle in the beginning of this chapter alludes to 
the old Roman law. But as they have no more concern with 
this, than with the ceremonial law of Moses, so they spend 
not much thought on what they suppose is occasionally men- 
tioned barely to illustrate another thing. 

2. But a careful observer of the Apostle's discourse will 
not be content with these light explications of it. And the 
more he weighs the words, the more convinced he will be, 
that St. Paul, by " the law " mentioned in this chapter, does 
not mean either the ancient law of Rome, or the ceremonial 
law of Moses. This will clearly appear to all who attentively 
consider the tenor of his discourse. He begins the chapter, 
" Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the 
law,)" to them who have been instructed therein from their 
youth, " that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he 
liveth ? " (What ! the law of Rome only, or the ceremonial 
law ? No, surely ; but the moral law.) " For," to give a 
plain instance, " the woman which hath a husband is bound 
by the " moral " law to her husband so long as he liveth ; 


but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her 
husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married 
to another man, she shall be called an adulteress : but if her 
husband be dead, she is free from that law ; so that she is no 
adulteress, though she be married to another man." From 
this particular instance the Apostle proceeds to draw that 
general conclusion : " Wherefore, my brethren," by a plain 
parity of reason, " ye also are become dead to the law," the 
whole Mosaic institution, " by the body of Christ," offered for 
you, and bringing you under a new dispensation : " That ye 
should " without any blame " be married to another, even to 
Him who is raised from the dead ; " and hath thereby given 
proof of His authority to make the change ; " that we should 
bring forth fruit unto God." And this we can do now, 
whereas before we could not : " for when we were in the. 
flesh," under the power of the flesh, that is, of corrupt 
nature, which was necessarily the case till we knew the 
power of Christ's resurrection, " the motions of sins, which 
were by the law," — which were shown and inflamed by the 
Mosaic law, not conquered, — " did work in our members," — 
broke out various ways, — " to bring forth fruit unto death." 
" But now we are delivered from the law ; " from that whole 
moral, as well as ceremonial economy ; " that being dead 
whereby we were held; " — that entire institution being now 
as it were dead, and having no more authority over us than 
the husband, when dead, hath over his wife : " That we 
should serve Him," — who died for us and rose again, " in 
newness of spirit ; " — in a new spiritual dispensation ; " and 
not in the oldness of the letter ; " — with a bare outward 
service, according to the letter of the Mosaic institution. 
(Verses 1 — 6.) 

3. The Apostle, having gone thus far in proving that the 
Christian had set aside the Jewish dispensation, and that the 
moral law itself, though it could never pass away, yet stood 
on a different foundation from what it did before, — now stops 
to propose and answer an objection : " What shall we say 
then ? Is the law sin ? " So some might infer from a mis- 
apprehension of those words, " the motions of sins, which 


were by the law." " God forbid ! " saith the Apostle, that we 
should say so. Nay, the law is an irreconcilable enemy to sin ; 
searching it out, wherever it is. " I had not known sin, but 
by the law : for I had not known lust," evil desire, to be sin, 
" except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." (Verse 7.) 
After opening this farther, in the four following verses, he 
subjoins this general conclusion, with regard more especially 
to the moral law, from which the preceding instance was 
taken: "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment 
holy, and just, and good." 

4. In order to explain and enforce these deep words, so 
little regarded, because so little understood, I shall endeavour 
to show, first, the original of this law ; secondly, the nature 
thereof ; thirdly, the properties, — that it is holy, and just, 
and good ; and, fourthly, the uses of it. 

1. 1. I shall, first, endeavour to show the original of the 
moral law, often called " the law," by way of eminence. Now 
this is not, as some may have possibly imagined, of so late an 
institution as the time of Moses. Noah declared it to men 
long before that time, and Enoch before him. But we may 
trace its original higher still, even beyond the foundation of 
the world ; to that period, unknown indeed to men, but doubt- 
less enrolled in the annals of eternity, when " the morning 
stars " first " sang together," being newly called into exist- 
ence. It pleased the great Creator to make these, His first- 
born sons, intelligent beings, that they might know Him 
that created them. For this end He endued them with 
understanding, to discern truth from falsehood, good from 
evil ; and, as a necessary result of this, with liberty, a capa- 
city of choosing the one and refusing the other. By this they 
were, likewise, enabled to offer Him a free and willing ser- 
vice ; a service rewardable in itself, as well as most accept- 
able to their gracious Master. 

2. To employ all the faculties which He had given them, 
particularly their understanding and liberty, He gave them 
a law, a complete model of all truth, so far as is intelligible 
tri a finite being ; and of all good, so far as angelic minds were 


capable of embracing it. It was also the design of their 
beneficent Governor herein to make way for a continual in- 
crease of their happiness ; seeing every instance of obedience 
to that law would both add to the perfection of their nature, 
and entitle them to an higher reward, which the righteous 
Judge would give in its season. 

3. In like manner, when God, in His appointed time, had 
created a new order of intelligent beings, when He had raised 
man from the dust of the earth, breathed into him the breath 
of life, and caused him to become a living soul, endued with 
power to choose good or evil ; He gave to this free, intelligent 
creature the same law as to His first-born children ; — not wrote, 
indeed, upon tables of stone, or any corruptible substance, but 
engraven on his heart by the finger of God ; wrote in the 
inmost spirit both of men and of angels ; to the intent it might 
never be far off, never hard to be understood, but always at 
hand, and always shining with clear light, even as the sun in 
the midst of heaven. 

4. Such was the original of the law of God. With regard 
to man, it was coeval with his nature ; but with regard to the 
elder sons of God, it shone in its full splendour " or ever the 
mountains were brought forth, or the earth and the round 
world were made." But it was not long before man rebelled 
against God, and, by breaking this glorious law, well nigh 
effaced it out of his heart ; the eyes of his understanding being 
darkened in the same measure as his soul was " alienated from" 
the life of God." And yet God did not despise the work of 
His own hands ; but, being reconciled to man through the Son 
of His love, He, in some measure, re-inscribed the law on the 
heart of His dark, sinful creature. " He " again " showed 
thee, man, what is good," although not as in the beginning, 
"even to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly 
with thy God." 

3. And this He showed, not only to our first parents, but 
likewise to all their posterity, by " that true light which 
enlightens every man that cometh into the world." But, 
notwithstanding this light, all flesh had, in process of time, 
'! corrupted their way before Him ; " till He chose out of man- 


kind a -peculiar people, to whom He gave a more perfect know- 
ledge of His law : and the heads of this, because they were 
slow of understanding, He wrote on two tables of stone, which 
He commanded the fathers to teach their children, through all 
succeeding generations. 

6. And thus it is, that the law of God is now made known 
to them that know not God. They hear, with the hearing 
of the ear, the things that were written aforetime for our 
instruction. But this does not suffice : they cannot, by this 
means, comprehend the height, and depth, and length, and 
breadth thereof. God alone can reveal this by His Spirit. 
And so He does to all that truly believe, in consequence of 
that gracious promise made to all the Israel of God : " Behold, 
the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant 1 
with the house of Israel. And this shall be the covenant that 
I will make ; I will put My law in their inward parts, and 
write it in their hearts ; and I will be their God, and they shall 
be My people." (Jer. xxxi. 31, &c.) 

II. i. The nature of that law which was originally given 
to angels in heaven and man in paradise, and which God has 
so mercifully promised to write afresh in the hearts of all 
true believers, was the second thing I proposed to show. 
In order to which, I would first observe, that although the" 
" law " and the " commandment " are sometimes differently 
taken, (the commandment meaning but a part of the law,) 
yet in the text they are used as equivalent terms, implying 
one and the same thing. But we cannot understand here, 
either by one or the other, the ceremonial law. It is not the 
ceremonial law, whereof the Apostle says, in the words above 
recited, " I had not known sin, "but by the law : " this is too 
plain to need a proof. Neither is it the ceremonial law which 
saith, in the words immediately subjoined, " Thou shalt not 
covet." Therefore the ceremonial law has no place in the 
present question. 

2. Neither can we understand by " the law " mentioned in 
the text the Mosaic dispensation. It is true, the word is some- 
times so understood ; as when the Apostle says, speaking to 


the Galatians, (iii. 17,) " The covenant that was confirmed 
before ; " namely, with Abraham, the father of the faithful, 
" the law," that is, the Mosaic dispensation, " which was four 
hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul." But it 
cannot be understood so in the text ; for the Apostle never 
bestows so high commendations as these upon that imperfect 
and shadowy dispensation. He nowhere affirms the Mosaic 
to be a spiritual law ; or, that it is holy, and just, and good. 
Neither is it true, that God will write that law in the hearts 
of those whose iniquities He remembers no more. It remains, 
that " the law," eminently so termed, is no other than the 
moral law. 

3. Now, this law is an incorruptible picture of the High 
and Holy One that inhabiteth eternity. It is He whom, in 
His essence, no man hath seen, or can see, made visible to 
men and angels. It is the face of God unveiled ; God mani- 
fested to His creatures as they are able to bear it ; manifested 
to give, and not to destroy, life, — that they may see God and 
live. It is the heart of God disclosed to man. Yea, in some 
sense, we may apply to this law what the Apostle says of His 
Son : it is a/rcavyaafia Ttjg $6£,t)q, Kal ^apa/a-rlp rrjs vTroaraaeue 
avTov, — the streaming forth or out-beaming of His glory, the 
express image of His person. 

4. " If virtue," said the ancient Heathen, " could assume 
such a shape as that we could behold her with our eyes, what 
wonderful love would she excite in us ! " If virtue could do 
this ! It is done already. The law of God is all virtues in 
one, in such a shape as to be beheld with open face by all 
those whose eyes God hath enlightened. What is the law but 
divine virtue and wisdom assuming a visible form ? What is 
it but the original ideas of truth and good, which were lodged 
in the uncreated mind fi'om eternity, now drawn forth and 
clothed with such a vehicle as to appear even to human under- 

i;. If we survey the law of God in another point of view, 
it is supreme, unchangeable reason ; it is unalterable rec- 
titude ; it is the everlasting fitness of all things that are or 
ever were created. I am sensible, what a shortness, and even 


impropriety, there is, in these and all other human expressions, 
when we endeavour by these faint pictures to shadow out the 
deep things of God. Nevertheless, we have no better, indeed 
no other way, during this our infant state of existence. As 
we now " know " but " in part," so we are constrained to 
" prophesy," that is, speak of the things of God, " in part " 
also. " We cannot order our speech by reason of darkness," 
while we are in this house of clay. While I am " a child," I 
must "speak as a child : " but I shall soon "put away childish 
things ; " for " when that which is perfect is come, that which 
is in part shall be done away." 

6. But to return. The law of God (speaking after the 
manner of men) is a copy of the eternal mind, a transcript of 
the divine nature ; yea, it is the fairest offspring of the ever- 
lasting Father, the brightest efflux of His essential wisdom, 
the visible beauty of the Most High. It is the delight and 
wonder of cherubim and seraphim, and all the company- of 
heaven, and the glory and joy of every wise believer, every 
well-instructed child of God upon earth. 

III. i. Such is the nature of the ever-blessed law of God. 
I am, in the third place, to show the properties of it : — not all ; 
for that would exceed the wisdom of an angel ; but those only 
which are mentioned in the text. These are three : it is holy 
just, and good. And, first, the law is holy. 

2. In this expression the Apostle does not appear to speak 
of its effects, but rather of its nature : as St. James, speaking 
of the same thing under another name, says, " The wisdom 
from above" (which is no other than this law, written in our 
heart) " is first pure; " (iii. 17 ;) kyvrj,— chaste, spotless; eter- 
nally and essentially holy. And, consequently, when it is 
transcribed into the life, as well as the soul, it is (as the same 
Apostle terms it, i. 27) Opr/triceta icadapa rat afiiavTos, — pure 
religion and undefiled ; or, the pure, clean, unpolluted worship 
of God. 

3. It is, indeed, in the highest degree, pure, chaste, clean, 
holy. Otherwise it could not be the immediate offspring, and 
much less the express resemblance, of Godj who is essential 


holiness. It is pure from all sin, clean and unspotted from 
any touch of evil. It is a chaste virgin, incapable of any 
defilement, of any mixture with that which is unclean or 
unholy. It has no fellowship with sin of any kind : for 
"what communion hath light with darkness?" As sin is, 
in its very nature, enmity to God, so His law is enmity to 

4. Therefore it is that the Apostle rejects with such abhor- 
rence that blasphemous supposition, that the law of God is 
either sin itself, or the cause of sin. God forbid that we 
should suppose it is the cause of sin, because it is the dis- 
coverer of it ; because it detects the hidden things of dark- 
ness, and drags them out into open day. It is true, by this 
means, (as the Apostle observes, Romans vii. 13,) "sin appears 
to be sin." All its disguises are torn away, and it appears in 
its native deformity. It is true likewise, that " sin, by the 
commandment, becomes exceeding sinful : " being now com- 
mitted against light and knowledge, being stripped even of 
the poor plea of ignorance, it loses its excuse, as well as dis- 
guise, and becomes far more odious both to God and man. 
Yea, and it is true, that " sin worketh death by that which is 
good ; " which in itself is pure and holy. When it is dragged 
out to light, it rages the more : when it is restrained, it bursts 
out with great violence. Thus the Apostle, (speaking in the 
person of one who was convinced of sin, but not yet delivered 
from it,) " Sin, taking occasion by the commandment" detect- 
ing and endeavouring to restrain it, disdained the restraint, 
and so much the more "wrought in me all manner of concu- 
piscence;" (verse 8 ;) all manner of foolish and hurtful desire, 
which that commandment sought to restrain. Thus, " when 
the commandment came, sin revived : " (verse 9 :) it fretted 
and raged the more. But this is no stain on the command- 
ment. Though it is abused, it cannot be defiled. This only 
proves that "the heart of man is desperately wicked." But 
"the law " of God " is holy " still. 

5. And it is, secondly, just. It renders to all their due. 
It prescribes exactly what is right, precisely what ought to be 
done, said, or thought, both with regard to the Author of our 


being, with regard to ourselves, and with regard to every 
creature which. He has made. It is adapted, in all respects, to 
the nature of things, of the whole universe, and every indi- 
vidual. It is suited to all the circumstances of each, and to 
all their mutual relations, whether such as have existed from 
the beginning, or such as commenced in any following period. 
It is exactly agreeable to the fitnesses of things, whether 
essential or accidental. It clashes with none of these in 
any degree; nor is ever unconnected with them. If the 
word be taken in that sense, there is nothing arbitrary in 
the law of God. Although still the whole and every part 
thereof is totally dependent upon His will ; so that, " Thy 
will be done," is the supreme, universal law both in earth 
and heaven. 

6. " But is the will of God the cause of His law ? Is His 
will the original of right and wrong ? Is a thing therefore 
right, because God wills it ? or does He will it because it is 
right?" -nr 

I fear this celebrated question is more curious than useful. 
And perhaps in the manner it is usually treated of, it does not 
so well consist with the regard that is due from a creature to 
the Creator and Governor of all things. It is hardly decent 
for man to call the supreme God to give an account to him. 
Nevertheless, with awe and reverence we may speak a little. 
The Lord pardon us if we speak amiss ! . ■ -- 

7. It seems then, that the whole difficulty arises from 
considering God's will as distinct from God : otherwise it 
-vanishes away. For none can doubt but God is the cause of 
the law of God. But the will of God is God Himself. It is 
God considered as willing thus or thus. Consequently, to 
say that the will of God, or that God Himself , is the cause of 
the law, is one and the same thing. 

8. Again: If the law, the immutable rule of right and 
wrong, depends upon the nature and fitnesses of things, and 
on their essential relations to each other ; (I do not say, their 
eternal relations ; because the eternal relation of things exist- 
ing in time, is little less than a contradiction ;) if, I say, this 
depends on the nature and relations of things, then it must 


depend on God, or the will of God; because those things 
themselves, with all their relations, are the works of His hands. 
By His will, "for His pleasure " alone, they all " are and were 

9. And yet it may be granted, (which is probably all that 
a considerate person would contend for,) that in every par- 
ticular case, God wills this or this, (suppose, that men should 
honour their parents,) because it is right, agreeable to the 
fitness of things, to the relation wherein they stand. 

10. The law then is right and just concerning all things. 
And it is good as well as just. This we may easily infer from 
the fountain whence it flowed. For what was this, but the 
goodness of God ? What but goodness alone inclined Him to 
impart that divine copy of Himself to the holy angels ? To 
what else can we impute His bestowing upon man the same 
transcript of His own nature ? And what but tender love 
constrained Him afresh to manifest His will to fallen man, — 
either to Adam, or any of his seed, who like him were "come 
short of the glory of God ? " Was it not mere love that 
moved Him to publish His law afterthe understandings of men 
were darkened ? and to send His Prophets to declare that 
law to the blind, thoughtless children of men ? Doubtless 
His goodness it was which raised up Enoch and Noah to be 
Preachers of righteousness; which caused Abraham, His friend, 
and Isaac, and Jacob, to bear witness to His truth. It was 
His goodness alone, which, when "darkness had covered the 
earth, and thick darkness the people," gave a written law to 
Moses, and, through him, to the nation whom He had chosen. 
It was love which explained these living oracles by David and 
all the Prophets that followed ; until, when the fulness of 
time was come, He sent His only-begotten Son, " nottodestroy 
the law, but to fulfil," confirm every jot and tittle thereof; 
till, having wrote it in the hearts of all His children, and 
put all His enemies under His feet, " He shall deliver up " 
His mediatorial " kingdom to the Father, that God may be 
all in all." 

1 1 . And this law, which the goodness of God gave at first, 
and has preserved through all ages, is, like the fountain from 


whence it springs, full of goodness and benignity : it is mild 
and kind ; it is, as the Psalmist expresses it, " sweeter than 
honey and the honey-comb." It is winning and amiable. It 
includes " whatsoever things are lovely or of good report. If 
there be any virtue, if there be any praise " before God and 
His holy angels, they are all comprised in this ; wherein are 
hid all the treasures of the divine wisdom, and knowledge, 
and love. 

12. And it is good in its effects, as well as in its nature. 
As the tree is, so are its fruits. The fruits of the law of 
God written in the heart are " righteousness, and peace, and 
assurance for ever." Or rather, the law itself is righteous- 
ness, filling the soul with a peace which passeth all understand- 
ing, and causing us to rejoice evermore, in the testimony of a 
good conscience toward God. It is not so properly a pledge, 
as " an earnest, of our inheritance," being a part of the pur- 
chased possession. It is God made manifest in our flesh, and 
bringing with Him eternal life ; assuring us by that pure and 
perfect love, that we are " sealed unto the day of redemption; " 
that He will " spare us as a man spareth his own son that 
servethhim," " in the day when He maketh up His jewels ; " 
and that there remaineth for us " a crown of glory which 
fadeth not away." 

IV i. It remains only to show, in tbe fourth and last 
place, the uses of the law. And the first use of it, without 
question, is, to convince the world of sin. This is, indeed, 
the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost ; who can work it with- 
out any means at all, or by whatever means it pleaseth Him, 
however insufficient in themselves, or even improper, to pro- 
duce such an effect. And, accordingly, some there are whose 
hearts have been broken in pieces in a moment, either in 
sickness or in health, without any visible cause, or any out- 
ward means whatever ; and others (one in an age) have been 
awakened to a sense of the "wrath of God abiding on them," 
by hearing that " God was in Christ, reconciling the world 
unto Himself." But it is the ordinary method of the Spirit of 
God to convict sinners by the law. It is this which, being set 


home on the conscience, generally breaketh the rocks in pieces. 
It is more especially this part of the word of God which is 
l,Qv Kal evepyfie, — quick and powerful, full of life and energy, 
" and sharper than any two-edged sword." This, in the hand 
of God and of those whom He hath sent, pierces through all 
the folds of a deceitful heart, and " divides asunder even the 
soul and the spirit ; " yea, as it were, the very " joints and 
marrow." By this is the sinner discovered to himself. All 
his fig-leaves are torn away, and he sees that he is "wretched, 
and poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked." The law 
flashes conviction on every side. He feels himself a mere 
sinner. He has nothing to pay. His "mouth is stopped," 
and he stands " guilty before God." 

2. To slay the sinner is, then, the first use of the law ; to 
destroy the life and strength wherein he trusts, and convince 
him that he is dead while he liveth ; not only under the sen- 
tence of death, but actually dead unto God, void of all spiritual 
life, " dead in trespasses and sins." The second use of it is, 
to bring him unto life, unto Christ, that he may live. It is 
true, in performing both these offices, it acts the part of a 
severe schoolmaster. It drives us by force, rather than draws 
us by love. And yet love is the spring of all. It is the spirit 
of love which, by this painful means, tears away our confi- 
dence in the flesh, which leaves us no broken reed whereon 
to trust, and so constrains the sinner, stripped of all, to cry 
out in the bitterness of his soul, or groan in the depth of 
his heart, 

" I give up every plea beside, — 
Lord, I am damn'd ; but Thou hast died." 

3. The third use of the law is, to keep us alive. It is the 
grand means whereby the blessed Spirit prepares the believer 
for larger communications of the life of God. 

I am afraid this great and important truth is little under- 
stood, not only by the world, but "even by many whom God 
hath taken out of the world, who are real children of God by 
faith. Many of these lay it down as an unquestioned truth, 
that when we com© to Christ, we have done with the law ; 



and that, in this sense, " Christ is the end of the law to every- 
one that believeth." " The end of the law : "—so He is, "for 
righteousness," for justification, "to every one that believeth." 
Herein the law is at an end. It justifies none, but only brings 
them to Christ ; who is also, in another respect, the end or 
scope of the law, — the point at which it continually aims. 
But when it has brought us to Him, it has yet a farther office, 
namely, to keep us with Him. For it is continually exciting 
all believers, the more they see of its height, and depth, and 
length, and breadth, to exhort one another so much the 

more, — 

" Closer and closer let us cleave 
To His beloved embrace ; 
Expect His fulness to receive, 
And grace to answer grace." 

4. Allowing then, that every believer has done with the 
law, as it means the Jewish ceremonial law, or the entire 
Mosaic dispensation ; (for these Christ hath taken out of the 
way ;) yea, allowing we have done with the moral law, as a 
means of procuring our justification ; for we are " justified 
freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus ; " 
yet, in another sense, we have not done with this law : for it 
is still of unspeakable use, first, in convincing us of the sin 
that yet remains both in our hearts and lives, and thereby 
keeping us close to Christ, that His blood may cleanse us 
every moment ; secondly, in deriving strength from our Head 
into His living members, whereby He empowers them to do 
what His law commands ; and, thirdly, in confirming our 
hope of whatsoever it commands and we have not yet attained, 
— of receiving grace upon grace, till we are in actual posses- 
sion of the fulness of His promises. 

5. How clearly does this agree with the experience of 
every true believer ! While he cries out, " O what love have 
I unto Thy law ! all the day long is my study in it; " he sees 
daily, in that divine mirror, more and more of his own sinful- 
ness. He sees more and more clearly, that he is still a sinner 
in all things,— that neither his heart nor his ways are right 
before God ; and that every moment sends him to Christ. 


This shows him the meaning of what is written, " Thou shalt 
make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, Holiness to 
the Lord. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead," (the type 
of our great High Priest,) "that Aaron may bear the iniquity 
of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow 
in all their holy gifts ; " (so far are our prayers or holy 
things from atoning for the rest of our sin ;) "and it shall be 
always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before 
the Lord." (Exodus xxviii. 36, 38.) 

6. To explain this by a single instance : the law says, 
" Thou shalt not kill ; " and hereby, (as our Lord teaches,) 
forbids not only outward acts, but every unkind word or 
thought. Now, the more I look into this perfect law, the 
more I feel how far I come short of it ; and the more I feel 
this, the more I feel my need of His blood to atone for all my 
sin, and of His Spirit to purify my heart, and make me " per- 
fect and entire, lacking nothing." 

J. Therefore I cannot spare the law one moment, no more 
than I can spare Christ ; seeing I now want it as much to 
keep me to Christ, as I ever wanted it to bring me to Him. 
Otherwise, this " evil heart of unbelief " would immediately 
" depart from the living God." Indeed each is continually 
sending me to the other, — the law to Christ, and Christ to 
the law. On the one hand, the height and depth of the law 
constrain me to fly to the love of God in Christ ; on the ot her, 
the love of God in Christ endears the law to me " above gold 
or precious stones ; " seeing I know every part of it is a 
gracious promise which my Lord will fulfil in its season. 

8. Who art thou then, man, that " judgest the law, and 
speakest evil of the law ? "—that rankest it with sin, Satan, 
and death, and sendest them all to hell together? The 
Apostle James esteemed judging or " speaking evil of the 
law " so enormous a piece of wickedness, that ho knew not 
how to aggravate the guilt of judging our brethren more, 
than by showing it included this. " So now," says he, " thou 
art not a doer of the law, but a judge ! " A judge of that 
which God hath ordained to judge thee ! So thou hast set 
up thyself in the judgment seat of Christ, and cast down the 

M - 


rule whereby He will judge the world ! O take knowledge 
what advantage Satan hath gained over thee ; and, for the 
time to come, never think or speak lightly of, much less dress 
up as a scarecrow, this blessed instrument of the grace of 
God Yea, love and value it for the sake of Him from whom 
it came, and of Him to whom it leads. Let it be thy glory 
and joy, next to the cross of Christ. Declare its praise, and 
make it honourable before all men. 

o And if thou art thoroughly convinced that it is the 
offspring of God, that it is the copy of all His imitable. per- 
fections, and that it is "holy, and just, and good," but 
especially to them that believe; then, instead of casting it 
away as a polluted thing, see that thou cleave to it more and 
more. Never let the law of mercy and truth, of love to God 
and man, of lowliness, meekness, and purity, forsake thee. 
"Bind it about thy neck; write it on the table of thy 
heart." Keep close to the law, if thou wilt keep close to 
Christ ; hold it fast ; let it not go. Let this continually 
lead thee to the atoning blood, continually confirm thy hope, 
till all the '^righteousness of the law is fulfilled in thee," and 
thou art "filled with all the fulness of God." 

10. And if thy Lord hath already fulfilled His word, if 
He hath already " written His law in thy heart," then "stand 
fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made thee free." 
Thou art not only made free from Jewish ceremonies, from 
the guilt of sin, and the fear of hell ; (these are so far from 
being the whole, that they are the least and lowest part of 
Christian liberty ;) but, what is infinitely more, from the 
power of sin, from serving the devil, from offending God. 
stand fast in this liberty : in comparison of which, all the 
rest is not even worthy to be named ! Stand fast in loving 
God with all thy heart, and serving Him with all thy 
strength ! This is perfect freedom ; thus to keep His law, 
and to walk in all His commandments blameless. " Be not 
entangled again with the yoke of bondage." I do not mean 
of Jewish bondage ; nor yet of bondage to the fear of hell ; 
these, I trust, are far from thee. But beware of being 
entangled again with the yoke of sin, of any inward or out- 


ward transgression of the law. Abhor sin far more than 
death or hell ; abhor sin itself, far more than the punish- 
ment of it. Beware of the bondage of pride, of desire, of 
anger ; of every evil temper, or word, or work. " Look unto 
Jesus ; " and in order thereto, look more and more into the 
perfect law, " the law of liberty ; " and " continue therein ; " 
so shalt thou daily " grow in grace, and in the knowledge of 
our Lord Jesus Christ." 

From what " law " is it that believers are " delivered " by the death of 
" That whole moral as well as ceremonial economy," etc. — Sec. 2. 

In what sense are believers " delivered from the law " ? 

Those who are " in Christ," serve God now " in newness of spirit ; " — 
in a new spiritual dispensation ; "and not in the oldness of the 
letter ; — with a bare outward service," etc. — Sec. 2. 

What is " the original " of the law 1 
See Sec. I. 1. 

When and h<nv was the law first given to man ? 
See Sec. I. 3. 

Has the law on the heart been quite lost since the fall ? 

No. God " in some measure reinscnbcd the law on the heart of 
His dark, sinful creature." 

What relation do the Ten Commandments bear to the law written on 
the heart ? 
See Sec. I. 5. 

How does Wesley demonstrate that the law from which Christ delivers 
believers is not merely the ceremonial law I 
See Sec. II. 2. 

Quote Wesley's definition of the law of God. 

" It is supreme, unchangeable reason ; it is unalterable rectitude ; 
it is the everlasting fitness of all things." 

How does he unfold the justice of the law 1 

See Sec. III. 5. 
How does he settle the great question of the origin of right and wrong ? 

See Sec. III. 6, 7, 8. 


What are " the uses of the law " ? 
See Sec. IV. 1, 2. 

How does Wesley steer triumphantly between legality on the one hand, 
and Antinomianism on the other 1 
See Sec. IV. 3, 4. 

How does he prove that our religious performances cannot atone for our 
See Sec. IV. 5, 6. 

Can a believer do without the law ? 

" I cannot spare the law one moment, no more than I can spare 
Christ ; seeing I now want it as much to keep me to Christ, as I 
ever wanted it to bring me to Him," etc. — Sec. IV. 7, 8. 

What is the rank of the law in the kingdom of grace 1 
"Next to the cross of Christ." 


" We are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Coe. ii. 11. 

THE devices whereby the subtle god of this world labours 
to destroy the children of God — or at least to torment 
whom he cannot destroy, to perplex and hinder them in run- 
ning the race which is set before them — are numberless as 
the stars of heaven, or the sand upon the sea-shore. But it 
is of one of them only that I now propose to speak, (although 
exerted in various ways,) whereby he endeavours to divide 
the Gospel against itself, and by one part of it to overthrow 
the other. 

2. The inward kingdom of heaven, which is set up in the 
hearts of all that repent and believe the Gospel, is no other 
than " righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 
Every babe in Christ knows we are made partakers of these, 
the very hour that we believe in Jesus. But these are only 
the first-fruits of His Spirit ; the harvest is not yet. Although 
these blessings are inconceivably great, yet we trust to seo 
greater than these. We trust to love the Lord our God, not 
only as we do now, with a weak, though sincere affection, 
but " with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, 
and with all our strength." We look for power to " rejoice 
evermore, to pray without ceasing, ami in everything to give 
thanks ; " knowing, " this is the will of God in Christ Jesus 
concerning us." 

3. We expect to be "made perfect in love;" in that which 
casts out all painful fear, and all desire but that of glorifying 
Him we love, and of loving and serving Him more and more. 
We look for such an increase in the experimental knowledge 
and love of God our Saviour, as will enable us always "to 
walk in the light as He is in the light." We believe the 

168 satan's devices. 

whole mind will be in ns " which was also in Christ Jesus ; " 
that we shall love every man so as to be ready to lay down 
our life for his sake ; so as, by this love, to be freed from 
anger, and pride, and from every unkind affection. We ex- 
pect to be "cleansed from all our idols," "from all filthiness," 
whether "of flesh or spirit; " to be "saved from all our un- 
cleannesses," inward or outward ; to be purified " as He is 

4. We trust in His promise who cannot lie, that the time 
will surely come, when, in every word and work, we shall do 
His blessed will on earth, as it is done in heaven ; when all 
our conversation shall be seasoned with salt, all meet to 
minister grace to the hearers ; when, whether we eat or 
drink, or whatever we do, it shall be done to the glory of 
God ; when all our words and deeds shall be " in the name 
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God, even the Father, 
through Him." 

5. Now this is the grand device of Satan, to destroy the 
first work of God in the soul, or at least to hinder its increase, 
by our expectation of that greater work. It is therefore my 
present design, first, to point out the several ways whereby 
he endeavours this : and, secondly, to observe how We may 
retort these fiery darts of the wicked one ; how we may rise 
the higher, by what he intends for an occasion of our falling. 

I. I am, first, to point out the several ways whereby Satan 
endeavours to destroy the first work of God in the soul, or at 
east to hinder its increase, by our expectation of that greater 
work. And, 1. He endeavours to damp our joy in the Lord, 
by the consideration of our own vileness, sinfulness, unworthi- 
ness ; added to this, that there must be a far greater change 
than is yet, or we cannot see the Lord. If we knew we must 
remain as we are, even to the day of our death, we might 
possibly draw a kind of comfort, poor as it was, from that 
necessity. But as we know we need not remain in this state, 
as we are assured there is a greater change to come, and that 
unless sin be all done away in this life, we cannot see God in 
glory,— that subtle adversary often damps the joy we should 


otherwise feel in what we have already attained, by a per- 
verse representation of what we have not attained, and the 
absolute necessity of attaining it. So that we cannot rejoice 
in what we have, because there is more which we have not. 
We cannot rightly taste the goodness of God, who hath done 
so great things for us, because there are so much greater 
things which, as yet, He hath not done. Likewise, the deeper 
conviction God works in us of our present unholiness, and 
the more vehement desire we feel in our heart of the entire 
holiness He hath promised, the more are we tempted to think 
lightly of the present gifts of God, and to undervalue what 
we have already received, because of what we have not 

2. If he can prevail thus far, if he can damp our joy, he 
will soon attack our peace also. He will suggest, " Are you 
fit to see God ? He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. 
How, then, can you flatter yourself, so as to imagine He be- 
holds you with approbation ? God is holy : you are unholy. 
What communion hath light with darkness ? How is it pos- 
sible that you, unclean as you are, should be in a state of 
acceptance with God ? You see indeed the mark, the prize 
of your high calling ; but do you not see it is afar off ? How 
can you presume then to think that all your sins are already 
blotted out ? How can this be, until you are brought nearer 
to God, until you bear more resemblance to Him ? " Thus will 
he endeavour not only to shake your peace, but even to over- 
turn the very foundation of it ; to bring you back, by insen- 
sible degrees, to the point from whence you set out first, even 
to seek for justification by works, or by your own righteous- 
ness, — to make something in you the ground of your accept- 
ance, or, at least, necessarily previous to it. 

3. Or, if we hold fast, " Other foundation can no man lay 
than that which is laid, even Jesus Christ ; " and, " 1 am jus- 
tified freely by God's grace, through the redemption which is 
in Jesus;" yet he will not cease to urge, "But the tree is 
known by its fruits : and have you the fruits of justification ? 
Is that mind in you which was in Christ Jesus Y Are you 
dead unto sin, and alive unto righteousness Y Are you made 

170 satah's devices. 

conformable to the death, of Christ, and do you know the 
power of His resurrection ? " And then, comparing the small 
fruits we feel in our souls with the fulness of the promises, 
we shall be ready to conclude, " Surely God hath not said 
that my sins are forgiven me ! Surely ,1 have not received 
the remission of my sins ; for what lot have I among them 
that are sanctified ? " 

4. More especially in the time of sickness and pain, he 
will press this with all his might : " Is it, not the word of 
Him that cannot lie, ' Without holiness no man shall see the 
Lord ? ' But you are not holy ; you know it well ; you know 
holiness is the full image of God ; and how far is this above, 
out of your sight ? You cannot attain unto it. Therefore, 
all your labour has been in vain. All these things you have 
suffered in vain. You have spent your strength for nought. 
You are yet in your sins, and musttherefore perish at the last." 
.And thus, if your eye be not steadily fixed on Him who hath 
borne all your sins, he will bring you again under that "fear 
of death," whereby you was so long "subject unto bondage," 
and, by this means, impair, if not wholly destroy, your 
peace, as well as joy in the Lord. 

5. But his masterpiece of subtilty is still behind. Not 
content to strike at your peace and joy, he will carry his 
attempts farther yet : he will level his assault against your 
righteousness also. He will endeavour to shake, yea, if it 
be possible, to destroy, the holiness you have already received, 
by your very expectation of receiving more, of attaining all 
the image of God. 

6. The manner wherein he attempts this, may partly ap- 
pear from what has been already observed. For, first, by 
striking at our joy in the Lord, he strikes likewise at our 
holiness : seeing joy in the Holy Ghost is a precious means 
of promoting every holy temper ; a choice instrument of God, 
whereby He carries on much of His work in a believing soul. 
And it is a considerable help, not only to inward, but also to 
oat-./iii-J, holiness. It strengthens our hands to go on in the 
work of faith, and in the labour of love ; manfully to " fight 
the good fight of faith, and to lay hold on eternal life." It 

satan's devices. 171 

is peculiarly designed of God to be a balance both against 
inward and outward sufferings ; to " lift up the hands that 
hang down, and confirm the feeble knees." Consequently, 
whatever damps our joy in the Lord, proportionably obstructs 
our holiness. And therefore, so far as Satan shakes our joy, 
he hinders our holiness also. 

7. The same effect will ensue, if he can, by any means, 
either destroy or shake our peace. For the peace of God is 
another precious means of advancing the image of God in us. 
There is scarce a greater help to holiness than this, a con- 
tinual tranquillity of spirit, the evenness of a mind stayed 
upon God, a calm repose in the blood of Jesus. And without 
this, it is scarce possible to "grow in grace," and in the vital 
" knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." For all fear (unless 
the tender, filial fear) freezes and benumbs the soul. It binds 
up all the springs of spiritual life, and stops all motion of 
the heart toward God. And doubt, as it were, bemires the 
soul, so that it sticks fast in the deep clay. Therefore, in 
the same proportion as either of these prevail, our growth 
in holiness is hindered. 

8. At the same time that our wise adversary endeavours 1 
to make our conviction of the necessity of perfect love an ' 
occasion of shaking our peace by doubts, and fears, he endea- 
vours to weaken, if not destroy, our faith. Indeed these are 
inseparably connected, so that they must stand or fall together 
So long as faith subsists, we remain in peace; our heart stands 
fast, while it believes in the Lord. But if we let go our 
....;ii. our ii!.al confidence iu a loving, pardoning God, our 
peace is at an end, the very foundation on which it stood 
being overthrown. And this is the only foundation of holi- 
ness, as well as of peace; consequently, whatever strikes at 
this, strikes at the very root of all holiness : for without 
this faith, without an abiding sense that Christ loved me, 
and gave Himself for me, without a continuing conviction 
that (iod fur Christ's sake is merciful to me a sinner, it is 

: ..: ;s-ibh- 1 iiat i should, love (iod: '" We love Ilim. because 
He first, loved us;" and m proportion to < lie strength and 
clearness of our conviction that He hath loved us, and ac- 

172 Satan's devices. 

cepted lis in His Son. And unless we love God, it is not 
possible thai we should love our neighbour as ourselves ; nor, 
consequently, that we should have any right affections, either 
toward God, or toward man. It evidently follows, that 
whatever weakens our faith, must, in the same degree, 
obstruct our holiness : and this is not only the most effec- 
tual, but also the most compendious way of destroying all 
holiness ; seeing it does not affect any one Christian tem- 
per, any single grace or fruit of the Spirit, but, so far as 
it succeeds, tears Up the very root of the whole work of God. 

9. No marvel, therefore, that the ruler of the darkness of 
this world should here put forth all his strength. And so we 
find by experience. For it is far easier to conceive, than it is 
to express, the unspeakable violence wherewith this tempta- 
tion is frequently urged on them who hunger and thirst after 
righteousness. When they see, in a strong and clear light, 
on the one hand, the desperate wickedness of their own 
hearts, — on the other hand, the unspotted holiness to which 
they are called in Christ Jesus ; on the one hand, the depth 
of their own corruption, of their total alienation from God, — 
on the other, the height of the Glory of God, that image of 
the Holy One, wherein they are to be renewed ; there is, many 
times, no spirit left in them; they could almost cry out, 
" With God this is impossible ! " They are ready to give up 
both faith and hope ; to cast away that very confidence, 
whereby they are to overcome all things, through Christ 
strengthening them ; whereby, " after they have done the will 
of God," they are to " receive the promise." 

10. And if they " hold fast the beginning of their confi- 
dence steadfast unto the end," they shall undoubtedly receive 
the promise of God, reaching through both time and eternity. 
But here is another snare laid for our feet : while we earnestly 
pant for that part of the promise which is to be accomplished 
here, " for the glorious liberty of the children of God," we 
may be lead unawares from the consideration of the glory 
which shall hereafter be revealed. Our eye may be insensibly 
turned aside from that crown which the righteous Judge hath 
promised to give at that day " to all that love His appearing;" 


and we may be drawn away from the view of that incorruptible 
inheritance which is reserved in heaven for us. But this 
also would be a loss to our souls, and an obstruction to 
our holiness. For to walk in the continual sight of our 
goal, is a needful help in our running the race that is set 
before us. This it was, the having " respect unto the recom- 
pence of the reward," which, of old time, encouraged Moses, 
rather " to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to 
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach 
of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." Nay, 
it is expressly said of a greater than he, that " for the joy 
that was set before Him, he endured the cross, and despised 
the shame," till He " sat down at the right hand of the throne 
of God." Whence we may easily infer, how much more 
needful for us is the view of that joy set before us, that we 
may endure whatever cross the wisdom of God lays upon us, 
and press on through holiness to glory. 

ii. But while we are reaching to this, as well as to that 
glorious liberty which is preparatory to it, we may be in 
danger of falling into another snare of the devil, wherein he 
labours to entangle the children of God. We may take too 
much thought for to-morrow, so as to neglect the improve- 
ment of to-day. We may so expect perfect love, as not to 
use that which is already shed abroad in our hearts. There 
have not been wanting instances of those who have greatly 
suffered hereby. They were so taken up with what they 
were to receive hereafter, as utterly to neglect what they had 
already received. In expectation of hiving five talents more, 
they buried their one talent in the earth. At least, they did 
not improve it as they might have done, to the glory of God, 
and the good of their own souls. 

12. Thus does the subtle adversary of Cod and man en- 
deavour to make void the counsel of God, by dividing tho 
Gospel against itself, and making one part of it overthrow 
the other; while the first work of God in the soul is de- 
stroyed by tho expectation of His perfect work. We have seen 
several of the ways wherein he attempts this, by cutting off, 
as it were, the springs of holiness. But this he likewise 

174 satan's devices. 

does more directly, by making that blessed hope an occasion 
of unholy tempers. 

13. Thus, whenever our heart is eagerly athirst for all 
the great and precious promises ; -when we pant after the 
fulness of God, as the hart after the water-brook ; when our 
soul breaketh 6ut in fervent desire, "Why are His chariot- 
wheels so long a-coming ? " — he will not neglect the oppor- 
tunity of tempting us to murnmr against God. He will use 
all his wisdom, and all his strength, if haply, in an unguarded 
hour, we may be influenced to repine at our Lord for thus 
delaying His coming. At least, he will labour to excite some 
degree of fretfulness or impatience ; and, perhaps, of envy 
at those whom we believe to have already attained the prize 
of our high calling. He well knows, that, by giving way to 
any of these tempers, we are pulling down the very thing 
we would build up. By thus following after perfect holiness, 
we become more unholy than before. Tea, there is great 
danger that our last state should be worse than the first ; 
like them of whom the Apostle speaks in tbnse dreadful 
words, " It had been better for them not to have known the 
way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn 
from the holy commandment delivered to them." 
[ 14. And from hence he hopes to reap another advantage, 
even to bring up an evil report of the good way. He is sen- 
sible, how few are able to distinguish (and too many are not 
willing so to do) between the accidental abuse, and the 
natural tendency, of a doctrine. These, therefore, will he 
continually blend together, with regard to the doctrine of 
Christian perfection ; in order to prejudice the minds of 
unwary men against the glorious promises of God. And 
how frequently, how generally, I had almost said how uni- 
versally, has he prevailed herein ! For who is there that 
observes any of these accidental ill effects of this doctrine, 
and does not immediately conclude, this is its natural ten- 
dency ; and does not readily cry out, '' See, these are the 
fruits (meaning the natural, necessary fruits) of such doc- 
trine ? " Not so : they are fruits which may accidentally 
spring from the abuse of a great and precious truth : but 

satan's devices. 175 

the abuse of this, or any other scriptural doctrine, does by 
no means destroy its use. Neither can the unfaithfulness 
of man, perverting his right way, make the promise of God 
of no effect. No : let God be true, and every man a liar. 
The word of the Lord, it shall stand. " Faithful is He that 
hath promised: He also will do it." Let not us then be 
"removed from the hope of the Gospel." Rather let us 
observe, which was the second thing proposed, how we may 
retort these fiery darts of the wicked one ; how we mav rise 
the higher by what he intends for an occasion of our falling. 

II. i. And, first, does Satan endeavour to damp your 
joy in the Lord, by the consideration of your sinfulness ; 
added to this, that without entire, universal holiness, no man 
can see the Lord ? You may cast back this dart upon his 
own head, while, through the grace of God, the more you feel 
of your own vileness, the more you rejoice in confident hope, 
that all this shall be done away. While you hold fast this 
hope, every evil temper you feel, though you hate it with a 
perfect hatred, may be a means, not of lessening your humble 
joy, but rather of increasing it. " This and this," may you 
say, " shall likewise perish from the presence of the Lord. 
Like as the wax melteth at the fire, so shall this melt away 
before His face." By this means, the greater that change 
is which remains to be wrought in your soul, the more you 
may triumph in the Lord, and rejoice in the Ciod of your 
salvation, who hath done so great things for you already, 
and will do so much greater things than these. 

2. Secondly : the more vehemently he assaults your peace 
with that suggestion ; " God is holy ; you are unholy; you 
are immensely distant from that holiness without which yon 
cannot see God : how then can you lie in the favour of God ? 
How can* you fancy you are justified?" — take the more 
earnest heed to hold fast that, "Not by works of righteous- 
ness which I have done, I am found in Him ; I am accepted 
in the Beloved, not having my own righteousness, (as the 
cause, either in whole or in part, of our justification before 
God,) but that which is by faith in Christ, the righteousness 


which is of God by faith." O bind this about your neck : 
write it upon the table of thy heart, "Wear it as a bracelet 
upon thy arm, as frontlets between thine eyes : " I am justi- 
fied freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in 
Jesus Christ." Value and esteem, more and more, that 
precious truth, "By grace we are saved through faith." 
Admire, more and more, the free grace of God, in so loving 
the world as to give " His only-begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth on Him might not perish, but have everlasting 
life." So shall the sense of the sinfulness you feel, on the. 
one hand, and of the holiness you expect, on the other, both 
contribute to establish your peace, and to make it flow as a 
river. So shall that peace flow on with an even stream, in 
spite of all those mountains of ungodliness, which shall 
become a plain in the day when the Lord cometh to take 
full possession of your heart. Neither will sickness, or pain, 
or the approach of death occasion any doubt or fear. You 
know a day, an hour, a moment, with God, is as a thousand 
years. He cannot be straitened for time wherein to work 
whatever remains to be done in your soul. And God's time 
is always the best time. Therefore be thou careful for 
nothing : only make thy requests known unto Him, and that, 
not with doubt or fear, but thanksgiving; as being pre- 
viously assured, He cannot withhold from thee any manner 
of thing that is good. 

3. Thirdly: the more you are tempted to give up your 
shield, to cast away your faith, your confidence in His love, so 
much the more take heed that you hold fast that whereunto 
you have attained ; so much the more labour to stir up the 
gift of God which is in you. Never let that slip, " I have ' an 
Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;' and, 
' The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who, 
loved me, and gave Himself for me.' " Be this thy glory, 
and crown of rejoicing ; and see that no one take thy crown. 
Hold that fast: "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and 
shall stand at the latter day upon the earth : " and, " I now 
'have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.' " 
Thus, being filled with all peace and joy in believing, press 

satan's devices. 177 

on, in the peace and joy of faith, to the renewal of thy whole 
soul in the image of Him that created thee ! Meanwhile, cry 
continually to God, that thou mayest see that prize of thy 
high calling, not as Satan represents it, in a horrid, dreadful 
shape, but in its genuine, native beauty ; not as something 
that must be, or thou wilt go to hell, but as what may be, to 
lead thee to heaven. Look upon it as the most desirable gift 
which is in all the stores of the rich mercies of God. Behold- 
ing it in this true point of light, thou wilt hunger after it 
more and more ; thy whole soul will be athirst for God, and 
for this glorious conformity to His likeness ; and, having re- 
ceived a good hope of this, and strong consolation through 
grace, thou wilt no more be weary or faint in thy mind, but 
wilt follow on till thou attainest. 

4. In the same power of faith, press on to glory. Indeed, 
this is the same prospect still. God hath joined from the 
beginning, pardon, holiness, heaven. And why should mar 
put them asunder ? O beware of this ! Let not one link oi 
the golden chain be broken. "God for Christ's sake hath 
forgiven me. He is now renewing me in His own image 
Shortly He will make me meet for Himself, and take me tc 
stand before His face. I, whom He hath justified through th< 
blood of His Son, being thoroughly sanctified by His Spirit 
shall quickly ascend to the 'New Jerusalem, the city of tin 
living God.' Yet a little while and I shall 'come to tin 
general assembly and church of the first-born, and to God th< 
Judge of all, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant. 
How soon will these shadows flee away, and the day of (tri- 
nity dawn upon me. How soon shall I drink of ' tlic rive 
of the water of life, going out of the throne of God and o 
the Lamb ! There all His servants shallpraise Him, and slial 
see His face, and His nameshall be upon their foreheads. Am 
no night shall be there ; and they have no need of a candk 
or the light of the sun. For the Lord God enlighteneth them 
and they shall reign for ever and ever.' " 

5. And if you thus " taste of the good word, and of th 
powers of the world to come," you will not murmur againa 
God, because you are not yet " meet for the inheritance of th 


saints in light." Instead of repining at your not being wholly 
delivered, you will praise God for thus far delivering you. 
You will magnify God for what He hath done, and take it as 
an earnest of what He will do. You will not fret against Him, 
because you are not yet renewed, but bless Him because you 
shall be ; and because " now is your salvation " from all sin 
'" nearer than when you" first " believed." Instead of uselessly 
tormenting yourself because the time is not fully come, you 
will calmly and quietly wait for it, knowing that it "will come, 
and will not tarry." You may therefore the more cheerfully 
endure, as yet, the burden of sin that still remains in you, 
because it will not always remain. Yet a little while, and it 
shall be clean gone. Only " tarry thou the Lord's leisure:" 
be strong, and " He shall comfort thy heart ; " and put thou 
thy trust in the Lord ! 

6. And if you see any w r ho appear (so far as man can 
judge, but God alone searcheth the hearts) to be already 
partakers of their hope, already '' made perfect in love ; " far 
from eDvying the grace of God in them, let it rejoice and 
comfort your heart. Glorify God for their sake ! " If one 
member is honoured," shall not " all the members rejoice with 
it ? " Instead of jealousy or evil surmising concerning them, 
praise God for the consolation! Rejoice in having a fresh 
proof of the faithfulness of God, in fulfilling all His promises; 
and stir yourself up the more to " apprehend that for which 
you are also apprehended of Christ Jesus ! " 

7. In order to this, redeem the time. Improve the present 
moment. Buy up every opportunity of growing in grace, or 
of doing good. Let not the thought of receiving more grace 
to-morrow, make you negligent of to-day. You have one 
talent now : if you expect five more, so much the rather im- 
prove that you have. And the more you expect to receive 
hereafter, the more labour for God now. Sufficient for the 
day is the grace thereof . God is now pouring His benefits 
upon you : now approve yourself a faithful steward of the 
present grace of God. Whatever may be to-morrow, give all 
diligence to-day to " add to your faith courage, temperance, 
patience, brotherly- kindness," and the fear of God, till you 


attain that pure and perfeet love! Lot these things bo now 
"in you, and abound ! " lie not, now slothful or unfruitful : 
'so shall an entrance be ministered unto von into tho over- 
lasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ !" 

8. Lastly: if in tiino past you have abused I his blessed 
hope of being holy as lie is holy, yet do not therefore east it 
away. Let the abuse eease, the use remain. Use it now to 
the more abundant glory of Cod, and profit of your own soul. 
In steadfast faith, in ealmtran.piillit y of spirit, in full assur- 
ance of hope, rejoicing evermore for what (bid hath done. 
press ye on unto perfection! Daily growing in the know- 
ledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and going on from strength 
to strength, in resignation, in patience, in humble thankful- 
ness for what yo have attained, and for what ye shall, run the 
race set before you, " looking unto Jesus," till, through per- 
fect love, ye enter into His glory ! 

Which of Satan s devices are most hindering to the pursuit of holiness ? 
" Satan attempts to destroy the Jirxt work of God in the soul, or at 
least to hinder its increase, by our expectation of that greater n-or7?,'' 
etc. — Sec. 1. 1, 2. 

In what way does Satan press this assault upon the believer's peace 1 
" He will not cease to urge : ' But the tree is known by its fruits,' " 
etc.— Sec. I. 3. 

At what seasons does Satan especially urge this temptation 1 
" In the time of sickness and pain," etc. — Sec. I. 4. 

What is Satan's masterpiece of subtlety ? 

"Kot content to strike at your peace and joy, he will level 

his assault against your righteousness also," etc — Sec. I. 5, 6. 

In what way does joy advance holiness 1 

See Sec. I. 6. 
How does peace advance holiness 1 

What is the effect of slavish fear ? 

" All fear (unless the tender filial fear) freezes and benumbs the 

soul," etc.— Sec. I. 7 


What Christian grace does Satan next attack ? 

" He endeavours to weaken, if not destroy, our faith, y etc. — Sec. 

What is the next fortress of a believer's privilege that Satan strives to 
undermine ? 
" Hope of the glory which shall hereafter be revealed." — Sec. I. 10. 

Into what other mistake does Satan strive to entrap the believer ? 

" We may so expect perfect love, as not to use the love already 
shed abroad in our hearts." — Sec. I. 11. 

When are we most liable to be taken in this snare ? 

" Whenever our heart is eagerly athirst for all the great and pre- 
cious promises," etc.: — Sec. I. 13. 

How may we " resist these fiery darts of the wicked one " 1 
See Sec. II. 1, 2. 

What is the true evangelical light in which Christian perfection is to be 
regarded ? 

" Not as something that must be, or thou wilt go to hell, but as 
what may be to lead thee to heaven." " Instead of repining that you 
are not wholly delivered, praise God for thus far delivering you."